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  #181  
Old October 6th, 2009, 05:09 AM
FDW FDW is offline
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Yeah, keep this up this is one of the more interesting TL's being updated right now, and it's good to see such high quality work, good job MNPundit, and keep up the hard work!!!
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  #182  
Old October 6th, 2009, 06:51 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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Very busy until Thursday, sorry!

CHAOS AND ORDER

While the emperor waited to be ransomed, rumors of the agreement leaked out. When the silkworms arrived Irene came with them, looking not one inch a princess. In the east arranging the marriage of her daughter, she heard the news first--Stephen, the Domestic of the Eastern Schools had rebelled. She left the her daughter in the care of Konstantine of Georgia[1] and beat Stephen to the capital only to find it already up in arms against Romanus, forcing her to make a hazardous overland journey to find him. In a minor miracle, the empress now heavily pregnant was with family in Serbia and there she would stay.

After Ortiz established the Province of Tuscana he faced a problem. Enormous numbers of mercenaries were on his payroll and he had no idea what to do with them. Release would loose a plague of bandits on an exhausted Italy, paying them to sit around and do nothing would bankrupt him sooner than he cared to admit. Already they were restless; a dozen minor incidents occurred each week. Some departed to France for the conflicts escalating north of the Alps, but most remained happily eating away at his purse. When Romanus explained the situation it made all too much sense. I appear to have miscalculated, he wrote to Azalais, I will be in the east for a long time. Her reply was a terse acknowledgment that brought him home for a brief visit where she begged him to stay. But Ortiz determined to make Cannae mean something and left for Italy after only a month home. Upon his return, Ramon wed a reluctant Irene in Rome while Rolando began to plot with Nikephoras Phocas as the latter began to recover.

Information trickled west: with the Imperial family in exile, all the repressed ambition in the empire boiled up. While Stephen had himself crowned in Constantinople, he had made enemies--claimants sprang up in the Carpathian, Anatolikon, and Sebastean themes. Few adherents remained to the emperor in Anatolia though not all news was bad. Romanus and his ancestors had never forgotten their origins and money had been spent along the Danube. As the west grew richer, along the Adriatic coast of the Serbian and Dyrrhachium themes and as the forests of the Balkans were exploited of the Bulgarian theme, trade blossomed along the rivers and the Balkan peninsula. The Bulgarian Dynasty had never seen a need to move loyal Greek colonists there, had in fact taken from it and deposited them in Sicily, in Italy (a failure) and in the re-populations of Anatolia in the 830s, the 900s, and most recently the 970s.

Among the survivors of the Italian expedition, those deemed unreliable were interred or banished to Sicily where Andronicus took them, repopulating Reggio. When the emperor crossed the Adriatic, behind him were an army of Spañan-financed mercenaries nominally led by Ramon Araman but in truth commanded by Duke Rolando. When he learned that Stephen had perished fighting in Anatolia, Romanus went north secure military aid from the Serbians while Rolando attacked the Peloponnesus Theme. Its capture ensured safe passage for ships and supplies from the west to reach the Balkans, and most importantly was the center of the Byzantine silk industry outside Constantinople. Years later it was informally referred to as the Latinkon theme for the number of western Europeans residing there.

While Romanus was now just one of several claimants, it was not impossible for him to reclaim the throne. The chaos engulfing the Empire gave him hope and Ortiz was willing to sustain that hope as much as he could. It helped that Romanus became the father of a strong baby boy at the end of 977--and Ortiz showed his relationship with the emperor when Alexander spent more time with Irene at Corinth instead of his mother. With the eastern coast secured, Belgrade was taken and fortified as a border castle. In 980 Romanus allied himself with the Rosyians[2] who were trapped by the aggressive Bavarians and the half-Magyar Carpathian Dynasty currently laying siege to Constantinople in a futile effort to defeat the current emperor. With the City thus engaged, Romanus’ forces finally descended on Bulgaria and captured it. For the first time Romanus experienced a warm welcome as the Bulgarians had risen high in the empire under his family. Romanus finally had a stable source of income and as his fortunes rose, Ortiz reduced his involvement leaving the situation to Rolando who adapted his tactics to more heavily forested terrain and returned to Toledo.

By the time all Spañan involvement ended in 985, the beginnings of an equilibrium had begun to emerge and more importantly the mercenaries were now being paid out of the pockets of the locals and Spaña was nearly bankrupt. The cost of the Roman wars and financing the Neo-Bulgarian Empire[3] was ruinous. Even the successful establishment of Spañan outposts in the Azúcares(where disaster was averted only by the emergence of Pablo Africanus) and the Salinas[4] were not enough to do more than prop up the state. The only good thing as far as Ortiz was concerned was the recovery of Azalais, who had in fact, been the one to urge the expeditions to the southern islands. For some time small reforms were made, but now Ortiz launched a major state restructuring to streamline the bureaucracy, purge the rolls of fraud and make the situation more responsive. The numerous functionaries were now grouped into eight Agencies headed by a Magistrate with the power to execute the king’s commands. The Magistrates as a whole were now the General Court, a permanent body charged to report to the king the status of their tasks. None could be governors, but each governor’s own administration would be staffed by the various ministries. In this way, the hope was to make it more difficult to establish independent power bases outside the royal favor.

The reforms began to slowly rebuild the state, but they took all of the king's time, and he had little to spend with his daughter Isabel born in 978, and even less with his son and heir, Armando the Fearsome.
______________________________________

[1]The Restorer, he revived the Kartliberian Kingdom from a refuge in Georgia, and restored the Armenian Kingdom after its destruction by Turkish-led Persians, placing his brother Manvel on the throne. Kale was to be betrothed to his son Svimeon but is now a handy hostage and bargaining chip. Irene felt it was the only way to keep her daughter safe.
[2]See footnote 1, post #169. Good God, I'm referencing myself.
[3]Academic name. They called themselves simply “the Roman Empire” and Spaña called them that too, making sure to refer to the emperors in Constantinople as “Greek” ending any possibility of good relations.
[4]Azúcares (Sugar) Islands are the Canaries. Salinas (Salt) Islands are the Cape Verde Islands. ITTL, the Canary is named the Sugar Sparrow.

@BG: I had planned something to that effect but your post caused me to rewrite the above post.
@FDW: Comments keep me going! I'm glad it hasn't turned into a yawn fest.

Also, preliminary estimate is that Volume 1 of The Raptor of Spain will be completed in approximately 8 more posts.
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  #183  
Old October 7th, 2009, 08:32 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Semi-important announcement.

Old World Map is coming at the end of Volume 1 so there will be no larger maps until then.

Also, hope I haven't alienated Basileus Giorgios with my last post! The situation is still in flux as we'll see later on.
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  #184  
Old October 9th, 2009, 01:58 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Africa? Africa!

THE AFRICAN ALLIANCE
…..never think I am ungrateful, but I would have considered again our marriage had I known the numbers of reports that would be delivered to me each morning. The Magistrate of Trades’ Divan has showered upon me page after page on resources and trade, on genealogy, on political stability, on character, and on every conceivable practice of religious minutiae north of the mountains. The new binding agent out of Africa does so well in keeping the pages in order--I wish you much joy reading the extremely thorough assessment I made.

Your last letter indicated to me you had already come to a political choice and after reading it again, I reluctantly agree. It must be the Irish girl. I find the Irish in general all together too strident, but our son requires a firm partner to keep him focused on the matter at hand rather than on imagined slights he so often conceives. So too, her moral spirit appears quite strong, and I do not think she will ever allow him to dally with women though I fear it may only drive him to do so all the swifter. As it is your political and my spiritual concern that there not be bastards or mistresses (or terrifyingly, bastard mistresses) it appears to be our best option. Our second son will reinforce her if Fernan persists in his desire for the Church. That I am not enthusiastic for this match may push him toward it--you know that my bond with him has never been the same since my illness where so much responsibility was pushed upon a boy by a weak mother.

I look forward to your return to the capital and can only marvel that you manage to travel across our great kingdom when I am always so tired these days. It speaks well of your strength but it means I see less of you than I might desire. Having bared my heart to you so briefly, I pray this does not cause you to think ill of me. I hope that this letter finds you well and you return to me soon.

Until then I remain your faithful,

Queen Azalais of Spaña
--Letter from Azalais to Ortiz c. 986

*********

After the wedding of Armando Araman and Princess Léan of Ireland in 990, Ortiz proclaimed a cooperative monarchy in an effort to smooth the transition to power. With the country beginning economic recovery, his chief concern was to prevent any setbacks and spent much of the cooperative monarchy making sure his temper-mental son would be able to govern effectively. The Roman Wars and Balkan Intervention had consumed most of his reign but he felt his reign had accomplished something and was pleased that the army had been so quickly reconstituted under Grand Duke Rolando. Not what it was during the Roman Wars, it was enough for a border defense of native Spaniards. One reason for the quick rebuilding was the integration of Vascoña its recruits. The province would always have a bit of a northern flavor, but most of its population now more readily identified with the kings in Toledo over Metz, militarily, economically, and culturally.[1]

The growing power of Armando was evident in the alliance concluded in 997s Treaty of Ivories. Spaña’s rule of the western Sahara routes for decades, together with efforts by the Ghanas of Wagadou kept them passable. Recently the Ghana had increased taxation, demanding greater quantities of everything, especially food. Ortiz would have been more willing to compromise but Armando pushed for an expedition south to explore alternatives and he prevailed. Previous voyages had proven difficult and there was little enthusiasm for the trip save for Pablo Africanus. Sponsored by Almaghreb interests, in 994 the year Armando’s son was born, Pablo left Puerto Jardín with Fernan Araman in some of the most advanced ships yet built.[2] After putting in at Argum[3], they sailed up the River Senegal[4] and accomplished the first goal of their mission: make contact with Takrur, enemies of the Ghanas of Wagadou.

The Takrur had no choice but to use most of the trade routes now controlled by Ghana and though they often attempted to defeat the larger empire, the Takrur were largely unsuccessful. The two states coexisted by necessity as while Ghana could not overcome them, Takrur could never achieve a dominant position over Ghana. As the decades passed, Spañan traders had on occasion visited them, and as in Ghana, a few had been taken up in the administration and it was one of these who had laid the groundwork for what followed.

The second son of Ortiz and Azalais had always been interested in religion. Supposedly Azalais sang religiously inspired poetry to him in the womb but that is probably legend. Performing well at the religious academy at Iria, he was never the less a resolute backer of the Christian faith in its Iberian version. He would support Queen Léan in pushing for a stricter religious orthodoxy and after returning from the African expedition would be a major force for the removal of Jews from Italy toward the end of Armando‘s reign. In Africa he set up Christian religious centers doing much to spread the faith and was the main architect of the Treaty of Ivories which Duke Rolando vehemently opposed.

As state in the treaty the elites of Takrur would convert to Christianity and upon conversation would receive aid from Spaña to achieve their long sought goal: The conquest of Ghana.
__________________________________
[1]Vascoña’s romance that developed into Occitan ITOL is now closer to the standard Hespanic of Spaña. The higher literacy rates (50%) help with standardization and it is actually very similar to OTL Spanish (with less French) through a conscious embrace of Arabic compared to living together with it for centuries.
[2]Carracks. Development history: higher castles (#125) use of Irish cogs (#136), keel first construction (#147) first mixing of triangular and square sails (#147).
[3]Arguin
[4]In smaller boats than the carracks of course!
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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  #185  
Old October 9th, 2009, 04:32 PM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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Another fine piece of work. Although I do find it a little unbelievable that they would attempt to conquor Ghana, assuming the Ghana you refer to is in the same rough area, assuming that we haven't got yet to a 15h-16th OTL level of seafaring and exploration. Which I guess you are sort of hinting at
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  #186  
Old October 9th, 2009, 04:56 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius Vogel View Post
Another fine piece of work. Although I do find it a little unbelievable that they would attempt to conquor Ghana, assuming the Ghana you refer to is in the same rough area, assuming that we haven't got yet to a 15h-16th OTL level of seafaring and exploration. Which I guess you are sort of hinting at
I have checked and rechecked several books and websites about ship building and construction and I believe that there was nothing preventing the early development of those deeper-ocean ships, the pieces just did not fall into place and there was no one to exploit them. Here *Ireland and *Spain both had reasons to do so and have been on that path since the Irish unification just before 900.

To clarify, they are not attempting to conquer Ghana, they are going to help Takrur do it.

ED: This will be explained in the next post, so I'll just erase what I had here before and leave it at that for now.
Thank you for commenting, it's good to know people are out there!

BTW: "The Magistrate of Trades' Divan" phrase Azalais uses here is the equivalent of "from the Desk of the Magistrate of Trade." An organizational chart should be forthcoming 2-3 posts down the line so people know what Agencies are in charge of what.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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  #187  
Old October 11th, 2009, 04:13 PM
Historico Historico is offline
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Awesome TL you got yourself here MNP, I just spent the last three days reading through all of it as it is a very well written and dense Alternate World you've created. I was just going to ask about Spainan relations with the Ghana Empire as it would seem as the various Emperors of Spain would look Southward to the crucial Trans-Saharan Trade(Salt, Gold and Slaves) especially with chilled relations with the Eastern Mediterranean. I think the idea of Invasion would be quite likely, whether or not they would win remains unclear. I do have a couple of questions for you though.

1. So is the language of Spania influenced heavily from Arabic and Basque instead of primarily from Latin as IOTL with the Gallego, Castellano Y Catalan lenguas?

2. With the Norse espulsion from the British Isles might we see more focus on the colonization of Iceland and later Vinland(North America) as an outlet for restless Norse settlers?

3. Also will we get an earlier Scientific/Industrial Revolution with Arabic Love of Knowledge still being very present in a quieter Europe in TTL?

4. What effects might the Medival Warm Period have on TTL's frendlier Europe?

I would love to get some answers on these, but as always Keep it comming
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  #188  
Old October 11th, 2009, 10:34 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Originally Posted by Historico View Post
Awesome TL you got yourself here MNP, I just spent the last three days reading through all of it as it is a very well written and dense Alternate World you've created. I was just going to ask about Spainan relations with the Ghana Empire as it would seem as the various Emperors of Spain would look Southward to the crucial Trans-Saharan Trade(Salt, Gold and Slaves) especially with chilled relations with the Eastern Mediterranean. I think the idea of Invasion would be quite likely, whether or not they would win remains unclear. I do have a couple of questions for you though.
One thing the POD won’t change for now is the environment and Ghana started declining (among other reasons) because it could no longer feed it’s population. In RoS the stability of its main trading partner, Spaña means they have grown a little more quickly, and so they’re starting to feel the pressure now rather than in a generation.

1. So is the language of Spania influenced heavily from Arabic and Basque instead of primarily from Latin as IOTL with the Gallego, Castellano Y Catalan lenguas?

Language: They speak Hespanic. It consists of more Galician and Arabic words but with the conquest of Italy, there is going to be more Latin influence. Catalan is a really minor dialect ITTL. The end result is probably going to be similar to Spanish but with all nouns (referring to living things) gendered and Catalan words removed. This is combined with a Semitic constructive element (for now) which is V.S.O.NG.A. Here's an example that illustrates it pretty well. Say the royal couple were going riding. Ortiz would walk up to a groom and (following regular Spanish use of accents) say: “Jatrey vos hafrusme wi hafrusalla, Azalaïs.”

Jatrey is the verb "to bring" from Arabic “ha_ta and Galician “trarei” with the “j” replacing the “h” sound. Vos is “you” (the groom or subject) with the object being “horse” (hafrus/a by gender from the Arabic faras and it's gender plurals) with the element of possession “me” (me) and -lla (“-ya” or her) and an noun-adjective to determine who “her” is, in this case, Azalais. Horse was taken from Arabic because of the importance of the animal in the culture and because the famous Andalusian Horse is in a more Arabic area. Other verbs and nouns are traditional Spanish ones. Standardization due to 60-70% literacy rates means there is less local variation but Ortiz uses "international Hespanic" (a more latinized version, it's analogous on a less extreme scale to the relationship between Ottoman Turkish and the average Ottoman citizen).

Translation:
Literal: “To bring you (male) horse-me and mare-she, Azalais.”
Actual: “(You) Bring me a stallion and a mare for (her) Azalais.”
Alternate ending: "....and for Azalais, a mare."
Phonetic: HAH-trey vOHz ah-FRUCE-meh we ah-frue-SAI-ya, Azala-ees.

ED: The VSONGA construction is similar to that used in the Celtic languages so it's easier for the Irish and Bretons to learn Hespanic and vice versa than French/Latin. One more reason for their political closeness, they don't have to think in a different order. Also forgot the H's were silent, can't believe I forgot that. Fixed in the phonetic translation.

2. With the Norse expulsion from the British Isles might we see more focus on the colonization of Iceland and later Vinland(North America) as an outlet for restless Norse settlers?

We might! Currently the Pict-Norse are still holding the whole island from York though it’s getting harder to do so. The Kings of Albaney are attracting disgruntled Norse from Scandinavia to settle in both Britain and Greenland (OTL's Iceland), but disgruntled Swedes/Danes are actually going east to the Baltic region.

3. Also will we get an earlier Scientific/Industrial Revolution with Arabic Love of Knowledge still being very present in a quieter Europe in TTL?

We started off quick but have stagnated some. The son of Dimas (Bermudo the Crazy) is continuing the legacy and is currently about to discover a primitive electric motor. You’ll note that Teresa when she died was about to test out a voltaic pile--but no one figured out what it does, not even Bermudo. The problem here is that the chaos in the Muslim world has reduced their intellectual developments some as the Abbasids were more concerned with their decline and they were never as rich to sponsor scholars. The Persians ARE doing lots of interesting stuff but it’s not making it to the west. The Maghreb Arabs are focusing on political/religious philosophy more than invention currently because the farther east they go the more Sunni resistance they find. That's going to be changing in a while though, I don't want to spoil what going to happen.

4. What effects might the Medival Warm Period have on TTL's frendlier Europe?

The population of Europe in 1100AD (the peak) will be about 50,000,000 which is about 5-8m more than IOTL. 13,000,000 of that will be in Spana--which is about as high as it goes. 19,000,000 in *France, with the rest spread out across the other regions. This is due to both the more stable political situation and the Arabic method of agricultural science heading north through Spaña in the 800s. It's going to get a little crowed in a few places...

I'd say more but I don't want to spoil anything! Hope I answered your questions. Comments from long-time members are always appreciated.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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  #189  
Old October 13th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Tuesday are Update Days! Goodbye Ortiz and Azalais! Goodbye 'Abbas!

WEST AFRICA AND THE LEVANT

While the Takrurite kings now claimed descent from one the companions of St. James during his time in Iberia[1] the primary result of the conversation and alliance was technological. While the rainy season spurred vegetation, its seasonal nature and chance of drought provided a constant threat to the larger states. In fact the increasing prosperity of the Wagadou Empire of the Ghanas was a chief cause of its more ruthless economic policies. The steady trade with Spaña had led to more abundance and more population, placing stress on even the empire’s vast herds and more precarious farms. When Pablo Africanus and Fernan presented the Treaty of Ivories in Toledo, Grand Duke Rolando condemned it. Tensions in the north along the coast were rising and Spaña was in no position to expend energy in Africa as long as the difficulties of the Neo-Bulgarians continued.[2] King Armando however, became convinced of the importance of treaty and invited Rolando’s illegitimate daughter to the capital. At her arrival, he removed the Grand Duke from his post and kept her in Toledo essentially as a hostage.

The scandal set tongues moving all over the capital and throughout half the army--the Grand Duke had been well liked and his good service and talent were recognized and celebrated as a matter of state pride. Rolando might have appealed to Ortiz and his longtime patron Azalais but they were in no position to act on the situation. Azalais had fallen quiet ill and her improvement seemed unlikely. Ortiz now 60, determined to spend time with Azalais and given his crown completely to Armando, retiring to a staggeringly beautiful villa east of Santander[3] where they remained until theirs deaths in 1002 and 999 respectively.

Armando left the Grand Ducal position vacant and determined to comply with the treaty. Over the coming years thousands of Spaniards were sent south to improve Takrurite irrigation networks, introduce weapons such as crossbows, long pikes and even more advanced armor. The strength of both Takrur and the Ghana were their cavalry and Spaña had long experience in fighting cavalry. A strong allied Christian state at the southern end of the trade routes would be ideal. While the improvements would strength Takrur in the coming years, the true change Spaña brought to their kingdom was a different idea of political union. Prior to the treaty the Sahaelian kingdoms were tribute based on a single group. By their experiences in the Maghreb and the early decisions made by Abd ar-Rahman, the Spaniards focused on cultural and political assimilation and were more willing to modify their own culture in certain aspects to accommodate new peoples in order to eventually transform their cultural identity into that of Spaña. While this assumption was being tested in Italy, it had succeeded in the Spañan Maghreb (regions controlled before AD 910) and made strong inroads in the Amasiga and Sigilmas provinces. Skeptical at first, the Takrurites first put the idea into practice when they subjugated the Wolof people to the south.[4]

Meanwhile, change was in the air. In France the civil war had run its course and Robert of Frankfurt emerged victorious an account of his mother, a Breton Princess. Aid from Brittany enabled Robert to defeat the last Aldrian claimant by 998 and forged a powerful reputation for Breton military quality, particularly their short bows. But when southwest France heard of Robert’s victory, the were dismayed. Since the unrest had begun decades before they had become largely independent and the rise of powerful king was something they dreaded. Declaring themselves unable to follow an usurper, they revolted forming three independent polities: the Counties of Toulouse and Limousin, and the Kingdom of Provence. That last ruled by a member of the Spañan Halconas, having married into and eventually seizing power over the land during the Roman Wars. Robert was anxious to end this new challenge to his rule, but his country was exhausted and he had a new problem to contend with on his northern border, one of France’s own making.

The Christianization of Scandinavia undertaken by France had proved less valuable than hoped. As a consequence the French ground the native population under their heel regardless of conversion. In 973 French soldiers raped a small redhead of mixed Danish-Norse ancestry, the daughter of a poverty stricken noble in Nidaros,[5] and made the mistake of letting her survive. St. Amanda as she was later known received a vision from God that French cruelty caused God to turn His face away from them and the French and their servants needed to be expunged from the land. Whether by luck or divine intervention, her partisans achieved early victories against the French just as the civil war entered its deadliest phase in 975. They in fact retook the Murenborg weeks after Robert’s ascension. Amanda had preached that the initial conquest had been because of the cruelty and absolutism of the Danish hegemony and during the uprising a more egalitarian stance had been necessary. Very few lords had participated and now united under the Althing, the Commonwealth of Nordisala[6] was a government of all Scandinavians by choice.

Another realm that might have struck at Spaña was Makan had they not been focused on the east--for as the millennium set so did the Abbasid Caliphate. First driven back by the Persian revolution in the 830s then opposed by the Idrisids the Makanids, Byzantium, Macedonian Armenia, and finally Kurdistan their rule had fragmented after the second loss of Baghdad in 920s. But they fell to another growing power instead: the Qarmatians. Converting the Zanj, they redistributed wealth to common people fueled by their cotnrol of the trade routes across Arabia. With the other powers of the region occupied, it fell to the Kurds to hold Baghdad but they were defeated in 969, the city taken and even Mosul was sacked a few years later. Reorganizing their forces and slave soldiers, they launching a series of western campaigns that brought them across the Levant (970s) and through the Sinai (990s) to prepare a final assault on what one later Makanid writer called “the golden corpse” of the Abbasids. In this they had only one ally, the Empire of Makuria.[7] Together they destroyed Fustat and the last Caliph died in the battle though a remnant managed to keep the Qarmatians out of Hejaz. Attacked next by Makan, they triumphed at the siege of Alexandria and took all Egypt in 1007. To celebrate their victory in 1009 they sealed entrances to the Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, covering over their iconic domes with large cloths.[8]

For the first time in generations a single power controlled the Indian Ocean routes, and they made use of it wielding their monopoly against Muslims and Christians alike.
_______________________________________
[1]Not uncommon as a form of legitimacy
[2]Romanus died in 999 and the Neo-Bulgarian empire is threatening to split into factions (e.g. Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria)
[3]Berria Beach
[4]They eventually succeeded though assimilation was more coercive owing to a shorter time frame
[5]Trondheim
[6]From Pays Nordisele in the West-Germanic-Romance spoken in *France. The ending is from a part of the Old Frisian sele used in regards to Scandinavia and which I think is pronounced see-leh or say-leh.
[7]They became an “empire” after conquering the Blemmyes and defeating Yodit.
[8]They are not atheists though they looted Mecca for seventeen days! (#153) They are militant rational-communists. Their victories have made them more strident than IOTL but they did not demolish the buildings and they have a strong base among the common people who have been suffering political wars and upheaval for sometime now.

A/N: If I have made huge glaring errors with the Qarmatians, please inform me. Information on them is hard to find but their behavior here is consistent with the non-wiki sources I've found. Also map of the new states coming in future posts.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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  #190  
Old October 16th, 2009, 01:05 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Spelled Limoges wrong on the map. Sigh.

A CHOICE OF DIRECTION: PART I

Because Alejandro Araman’s parents hated each other, he spent his formative years with his aunt Isabel--wed to Rolando’s heir--once his mother left for the Monastery on St. Paul after recovering from his brother Miguel’s birth (b. 997). Isabel looked after the prince and took up the duties of queen while Alejandro’s father took up with his mistress, Auria Almaghreb. It was no secret her son Lucas was Armando’s. When criticized in several popular songs of the day[1] he ordered her brother Adam to investigate, and discovered Manzor of Zaragoza plotting rebellion. In a pattern that would disgust Alejandro, the king executed Manzor’s family and forcibly wed Manzor’s sister to Tomas Maura the Marques of Gran Rif. For his success Adam was named Duke. When the army voiced complaints at his inexperience, the king purged his officers. Almost uniformly literate professionals, many sought employment elsewhere and were in high demand because for the first time since the Reclamation, war convulsed western Europe.[2]

When Allan of Breton died childless in AD 1000, Breton law directed the crown to his sister Marie, the Irish consort. By Irish law, a married woman’s property became her husband’s responsibility. While unpopular in Brittany, the idea of an Irish navy combined with Breton infantry was of tremendous concern to the French. The Irish had supported the losers of the civil war and were known to be looking to Europe for more gain. Using his mother’s ties to Brittany, King Robert convinced the Bretons to disinherit Marie on account of her marriage and elect a new king. Expecting a friendly candidate, he was astounded when (by means of bribery and excellent spies) Emperor Brian secured the support of almost all the nobility and marched into Roazhin[3] mouthing words of “Celtic Unity” prepared to enforce any decision. King Robert felt trapped into preventing the union. With a thinly justified claim through his mother, the French king attacked Orleans launching the War of Breton Succession.

Historical allies of the French, the Spaniards remained neutral in the civil war. They had supported the Aldrians at remove through their Irish ties and Spañan-made weapons found their way north following the Roman Wars. The breakaway states of the south became involved, Limousin and Toulouse siding with the Emperor. Thanks to Rolando’s allies in the military, Alejandro’s father was persuaded not to intervene directly but could not be persuaded to cease arming the Irish and their allies. He was constantly encouraged by officials with ties to Provence--the Halcona family. Reduced since their days of power in the early Roman Wars, one branch married into the elite families of Marseille and became Kings of Provence in their own right. As the war began they supplied Spañan weapons and armor to the anti-French forces.

At first it was the Irish who looked ready to fight as they stormed across northern France in the summer of 1003 and the Commonwealth attacked in the east. However the Irish were mistaken in not reinforcing Orleans until it was too late and the city fell in 1004. A defeat near Calais, the chief French port in the west, changed the course of the war--it looked now as if France would stem the Irish advance and block passage along the Loire. Success encouraged Count Josselin of Toulouse to form an alliance with the French against the Irish and he attacked Limousin in 1005 with great success initially attributed to the presence of Spañan military officers in his ranks.

With a hostile ruler on his borders, Armando was not persuaded to stay neutral and named his brother Garcia First Duke. He did accede to not attacking the French directly. A plan was drawn up in Toledo for a joint attack along the Mediterranean coast and Toulouse itself from the west. Despite the need, the king did not recall the troops serving in Takrur under Martin Pabliz Africanus.

While Duke Garcia mustered his forces in western Aquitaine, in 1006 Second Duke Adam Almaghreb with the Counts of Santander and Pamplona led an army along the Via Domitia. Duke Adam was attacked several times by Josselin and it was only the threat to Toulouse that ended the attacks. Duke Adam did lay siege to Narbonne, blockading it by sea as well and the city capitulated in 1007. With Josselin occupied in driving the inexperienced Duke Garcia over the Gers and raiding the west, the capture of Narbonne was the signal for Provence to enter the war. The following year they invaded Toulouse, seizing Nimes. Duke Adam sent a smaller army along the coast to meet them at Nimes but turned most of his men toward Toulouse. When Josselin heard of the advance, he left the siege of Auscita and met the Duke at Carcassonne--routing the Adam's forces and slaying the Count of Pamplona while capturing a horde of supplies. When he returned to Auscita, it was with the help of French “mercenaries” fresh from the capture of Tours in early 1009.

Limousin was near collapse. Rumors flew that after clearing the Loire of the Irish, the French would march south in force and panic gripped Zaragoza Province. The king was humiliated and threw himself on the mercy of Rolando at his mountain home. Past 60, it was only after Isabel begged him that he resumed his position as Grand Duke, calling upon the veterans and militia he’d led and they flocked to his banner. The Timely Sword crossed the mountains that summer and defeated Josselin several times, taking advantage of Spañan logistics to remain in the field right through the harvest season and trapping the count in Toulouse. Now the rest of the Spaniards ran wild, and huge territorial captures were made by the allies culminating in Orleans being retaken by the Irish.

Rolando died in his sleep on June 26, 1012 preparing to receive Josselin’s surrender. To the shock of Alejandro, King Armando abrogated Rolando’s agreement, sacked Toulouse, removed Josselin's only child, nine-year-old Constance to Toledo and announced her as his Heir's future bride. It was to be a turning point.
____________________________________
[1]Since Azalais was a trobairitz, it became socially acceptable for elites to study music/writing and perform before upper and middle class gatherings.
[2]The succession dispute won by Robert was fought largely in OTL central Germany.
[3]Rennes, capital of Brittany.

EARLY BRETON WAR: 1003-1012
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:13 PM
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Old October 17th, 2009, 12:17 AM
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Old October 20th, 2009, 03:15 PM
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A CHOICE OF DIRECTION: PART II

After the fall of Toulouse and the division of its territory, the French king made an offer uti possidentis if the Spaniards would completely end their support for their allies. Against the advice of the king's officials led by his heir, the offer was rejected instead the king saw his son as betraying the interests of the state. Now a young man, Alejandro thought his father’s behavior reckless disagreeing with entering the war in the first place and wished he had been old enough to opposed the officer purges. The strain on the state of adventures in the Sahael, support for the Bulgarians, and now a war had proved immense. Unrest over taxation and the first stirrings of famine were beginning in the countryside and the king’s response of using force to maintain control along with the flippant reasoning that those killed would create more food for the survivors horrified him. After seeing the barely civil treatment of Constance, he left for St. Paul[1] to visit his mother and to escape a betrothal whose circumstances he loathed. There he was met by his cousin Eva also visiting the queen but in reality sent by Isabel to urge him to leave for the Maghreb. She now had reason to believe the rumors of the king launching a new wave of purges over recent opposition would now extend to Alejandro.

The king’s response was to officially convene a collection of legal and religious scholars to strip Alejandro of his succession in favor of his younger son Miguel who was then betrothed to Constance (still confined). Further action against Alejandro was prevented by realities: after the rejection of his offer the French king was finished negotiating. In 1014 his brother in law, Roland Acoin who had proved himself against the Commonwealth, was elevated to the new position of Constable of France and sent south. By the end of the year, the Constable was wintering in Lyon and the following spring he advanced down the Rhone driving all before him.

As widely suspected and feared, the king declared war on France.

Taxes were raised again and more men were called to face the threat and save the rapidly collapsing Kingdom of Provence. The first reinforcements were commanded by the Counts of Lisbon, Valencia and Santander and they were rushed north to join Duke Adam. The first battle between Spaña and France took place at Avignon as the Spaniards attempted to prevent the capture of the town. The result was a decisive defeat and a retreat with the French in close pursuit. The next was at Arles where Duke Adam was captured and held for ransom as the Spañan armies retreated back toward Toulouse in disorder.

The king’s mother once worried over “imagined slights” the king entertained as a child and now with his unpopularity, the conduct of the war, and his own familial issues that sense of oppression began to take over. The king blamed the reverses on traitors and French agents. In his determination to remove the traitors, evidence was fabricated and witnesses bribed in a pathetic attempt at law as a number of officials and elites were seized, executed and their estates confiscated. The new policies were too much. Riots broke out in several cities of the Maghreb over the taxation and scarcity of food. The local commanders who proved sympathetic to the complaints of the populace were removed and the unrest forcefully suppressed. A number of rural areas were also pillaged as the king searched for what he believed was the originator of the troubles, his son Alejandro.

The second army of reinforcements under the Counts of Iria and Gijon[2] was now paid for and sent north to Duke Garcia to try and revive Spañan fortunes. Joining Duke Garcia the majority of the Spañan forces north of the mountains met the French armies advancing toward Toulouse at the Battle of Millau, a small village where the Tarn and Dourbie rivers met. Totaling over 30,000 men Millau was the largest battle in the western Europe since the conflict between the Carolingians and Spaña against the Abbasids. It was a disaster. The French Constable attacked in an early morning fog and caught the Spaniards split among the river banks. Defeated in the detail, the battle cost the Spaniards much of their military leadership. Duke Garcia was killed when an arrow struck his horse and he drowned in the river. In the confusion the Counts of Iria, Gijon, Lisbon and Santander were killed. Ordono Halcona of Valencia was captured. The shattered remains of the Spañan army fell back to Toulouse and stood siege while the rest of French armies spread across the south recovering much of the lost territories in the next few years.

The king’s response as one commentator put it was “unhelpful.” It was in fact, a reign of terror. Another purge of his administration commenced as terrified rumors spread that the French would invade. The king no longer even waited for criticism, those who could presumably be disloyal were arrested and several maimed in such a way as to prevent them from performing[3] and then released--including at least two trobairitz. When the Scholars of the Book[4] united in condemning the king, he had them arrested touching off riots in much of Galicia, already in mourning over the loss of its most prominent family. At this the remaining military officers flatly refused to continue the conflict or to suppress the unrest or his further decisions. They fled to the Maghreb as the king stripped them of their posts and began relying more on foreign mercenaries[5] to carry out his orders and they based themselves in the Alcazar. A second round of riots broke out in the capital when news of the French raids into Zaragoza reached them.

When the standard of revolt was raised at last in the Maghreb by Marques Maura, no one could deny that chaos gripped the Kingdom of Spaña.
_____________________________
[1]Tabarca
[2]Garza and Raimundo, Rolando’s son and grandson
[3]Fingers cut off, tongues pulled out.
[4]Religious leadership of Christians/Jews/Muslims
[5]A very small contingent of heavy infantry was kept by Ortiz and subsequently grew.

A/N: I have begun reworking the earliest part of this TL into a serialized novel format. It's basically the life of Abd ar-Rahman from his arrival in Al-Andalus until his death. It is pretty similar to the early parts but hopefully more detailed and coherent than the start. It will also articulate the Timeline's theme more clearly. It should not affect the TL's update schedule. Projected at 25 chapters, it is located at The Raptor of Spain: A Webserial.
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  #194  
Old October 20th, 2009, 06:31 PM
Franciscus Caesar Franciscus Caesar is offline
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Ok, well I still have alot to read (my busy schedule + your consistent Updates= Me not being able to catch up!! Damn!), however, I have read enough to post that this TL is one if not The most ingenious TL on AH.com right now (at least in my eyes). The story has substance, great characters, and A writing style I envy and praise (wish I could write like you, MNP). In all, this TL is a fantastic (and long) read. Keep it up, I will finish (eventually)!!!!
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  #195  
Old October 21st, 2009, 03:55 PM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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Once again, I'd like to say that this TL is absolutely fantastic, one of the best on the site, and by far my favorite for its content and just how... real it all seems thanks to your great writing.

It was bound to happen, and now Spana has to deal with a tyrannical loon who will likely throw away a few decades worth of progress, especially in terms of relations with France, but I can definitely see this having remarkably good consequences, which especially came to mind when the commanders tried to stand up to him: a Spanan "magna carta" that would limit the authority of the king in such a way that these kinds of things don't happen again.

Keep up the great work!
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  #196  
Old October 23rd, 2009, 03:25 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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FEARSOME END

Into the chaos sailed Alejandro Araman. In six years away he had not been idle--visiting the Maghreb, Italy and finally his relatives farther east in the Balkans, themselves far from peaceful. While there Alejandro met not only with cousins, but also with envoys from Constantinople and the emperor there, a general from Antioch, Nicholas Balsamon.[1] Alejandro spent some time in the great city even more impressive than Toledo or Cordoba, and when he left in 1018 it was on good terms with Emperor Nicholas evidenced by his return with a sizable quantity of Byzantine gold.

He was in Italy when the news of Millau rocked the kingdom. He rushed to Toscana to secure the loyalty of the Italian provinces and more importantly to meet the visiting Count of Amalfi and acting military governor of south Italy, Dominico Najera. Both the count and the Toscanans were impressed by the young man and were willing to give him a chance to end the growing chaos in the west. From Italy he returned to the Maghreb and into the teeth of a revolt launched against his father.

The king had not been entirely wrong. Alejandro had not encouraged the citizens of the Spañan Maghreb to revolt, but he had spoken with the local officials and military commanders and made it known to them that a change in leadership was required. The rebellion also had a particular Spañan flavor: Tomas Maura was not attempting to take the throne. Of all the officials it was only the late Grand Duke Rolando that could have seized the throne outright with enough support to hold it. Instead Maura called for the removal of the king and a regency to be established by Isabel and the various Agency officials for her infant grandson. Joining him in his revolt were four of the six Maghreb provinces--Gran Rif, Amasiga, Sigilmas and Luz. Barga and Sahara Costera (Coastal Sahara, formerly Agadir) remained neutral. Also present was Eva as her mother’s envoy to the rebels, showing the first signs of the quick wit and cunning that would mark her rise.

Alejandro reached Tomas and his men at Mersa. It was common knowledge the prince had opposed his father’s growing madness and was eventually declared an outlaw. He managed to convince Maura and the military officers around him that internal conflict now would be disastrous for them all. He wanted a chance to salvage the situation short of open war. Because his own idea had considerable risk, he drafted a letter before a half dozen witnesses officially endorsing his aunt Isabel for a regency in the event of his death. It was only after completing the letter that Maura and his allies consented to working out the details of the prince’s plan. In the end, only one of the officers was willing to risk himself and his men to try and avert internal conflict but that officer--Sanzo de Mallorca the bastard brother of the Count of Palma still in the north--was the best possible choice.

Eva returned to her mother with a copy of the letter and another containing instructions of a different sort. After waiting what he hoped was enough time, Alejandro set sail secretly while leaving Maura in the Maghreb. Put ashore in a small boat north of Cartagena, he carefully made his way inland ahead of de Mallorca and contrived to be arrested by Sanzo’s men near a collection of huts known after as Llegada.[2] They announced the presence of the prince ahead of them once they reached the royal road, and made for Toledo with all possible speed. Reaching the capital they found hatred of the king, fear of France and now rebellion combined to make Toledo a boiling cauldron. The latest riots had come with the imprisonment of Constance as a spy for France. Prince Miguel was rumored under guard for fear he would flee and join the rebels himself. They ignored all efforts to detain them declaring the prince too valuable a captive to leave away from the king.

As Alejandro was dragged through the streets, the shocking news stunned the city of almost 300,000. Loudly asking amnesty for themselves and their families, volunteering to lead troops against France or the rebels in the south, Sanzo’s men entered the palace allowed to do so by the captain of the guard, Lucas Almaghreb. The paranoid king saw his son in the throne room, empty as the officials and elites now avoided a king. He was surrounded by mercenaries from Albaney, or the Commonwealth, or Slavs out of the east. As the king prepared to pronounce sentence on his son, a great noise rose outside--a riot sparked by his capture and agents paid by Sanzo and Princess Isabel. Using the Byzantine money, the palace gates were not held as securely and the rioters broke into the palace complex. Armando sent the rebel officers and most of his guards to control the crowd while he prepared to execute his son and flee. Suddenly, Alejandro slipped his false bindings and attempted to seize a knife from the guard to attack his father. But he was not fast enough--though he had the knife he was restrained. The king turned to his son triumphant until Lucas ordered his half-brother, the prince, released. As Alejandro surged forward, the king dove for the blade behind him.

Alejandro murdered his father before the throne of Spaña, stabbing him 6 times in the back until he lay face down with his arm outstretched towards the throne.

The first to bow to him was his half brother, and his first task to restore the order he had helped collapse. As fires were set in the Court of Arms, he emerged wearing a crown still wet with his father’s blood. He carried the banner of the ruling house, the Spear on the Cloak with the Purple Raptor in one hand and his father’s head in the other. The crowd’s anger turned to elation as the riot changed it’s focus to one of celebration at the death of the old king. Such was their exuberance, that parts of the palace and city were damaged before Lucas restored order.

When calm prevailed messengers were sent to the Maghreb, to Italy, the emperor in Constantinople and the armies north of the Pyrenees. The prisoners of the king were freed and a general amnesty was proclaimed along with a request for the return of dismissed officials signed by the religious scholars now freed by Alejandro. Led by the Bishop of Iria, and two representatives chosen from among religious scholars of Islam and Judaism, Alejandro III Araman was crowned king on February 1, 1019.
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[1]Ramon (d.1019) switched his allegiance to Byzantium and actually fought off a Bulgarian siege, so he retains the Latinkon Theme for Byzantium.
[2]Arrival, OTL Albacete.

ROYAL STANDARD/DYNASTIC FLAG - originally silver, now green!
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  #197  
Old October 23rd, 2009, 04:12 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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DYNASTIC FLAG - fringed in Silver because they are the second branch to hold the throne
Silver and white are the same thing heraldically - and flags usually (used to) follow heraldic rules.
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  #198  
Old October 23rd, 2009, 04:18 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Originally Posted by Dathi THorfinnsson View Post
Silver and white are the same thing heraldically - and flags usually (used to) follow heraldic rules.
Coats of arms, including rules did not develop in the sense you mean until 1100s not even in Islamic nations (generally beginning with the Ayyubids in terms of more individual symbols). The tag at the end was not supposed to be a heraldic description, simply a physical one. As far as I can figure, the Umayyad flag which forms the base for this one, was described as white and not "argent."

TBH, I did debate the edging quite a bit and have an option with a bronze color also sitting on my desktop.

ED: I suppose technically the flag is a "Royal Standard."
You're right though, looking at it..... it doesn't work. So color change to green referencing a 'tree of knowledge' type, because Ortiz's mother Teresa was basically a scientist.
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  #199  
Old October 23rd, 2009, 05:16 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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Originally Posted by MNPundit View Post
Coats of arms, including rules did not develop in the sense you mean until 1100s not even in Islamic nations (generally beginning with the Ayyubids in terms of more individual symbols). The tag at the end was not supposed to be a heraldic description, simply a physical one. As far as I can figure, the Umayyad flag which forms the base for this one, was described as white and not "argent."
Duh, of course they didn't. I wasn't paying attention to the time period, it was a kneejerk reaction to 'bad heraldry'. Still, those rules exist for a reason, and changing the border to something more visible makes a lot of sense.
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  #200  
Old October 23rd, 2009, 05:20 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Duh, of course they didn't. I wasn't paying attention to the time period, it was a kneejerk reaction to 'bad heraldry'. Still, those rules exist for a reason, and changing the border to something more visible makes a lot of sense.
Yes, absolutely. You forced me to re-evaluate and make it better. Thanks, I appreciate it.
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