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  #201  
Old October 24th, 2009, 01:34 AM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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Justified or not, regicide, much less patricide, was not looked upon fondly back then. The 6 stabs to Armando will likely come back to haunt poor Alejandro.
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  #202  
Old October 27th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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GATHERING

Like any worthwhile kingdom, a king could not implement policies on his own. Alejandro had no illusions in this regard, especially due to the circumstances of his own rise to power. Alejandro III was no great general, he was not brilliant at filling the state’s treasury and neither a great poet, nor innovative political philosopher--from the beginning his options were limited. What Alejandro was and had been since the beginning was a man who knew how to utilize what tools were available to him. As the rains fell in early winter 1019, those tools consisted of members of his shrunken family including an opportunistic half-brother, formerly rebel military officers, questionable support from the outlying provinces, and select members of the legal and religious parts of the administration those that had helped legitimize his coronation. He did have one stroke of luck in that food shortages were alleviated for the time being by ships arriving from Italy, a surplus attributed to more extensive agriculture investment in the south since the Roman Wars. With them, came Ignacio Najera with a small contingent of professional soldiers from south Italy. This small force did little to bolster Alejandro, who posted scouts in the Cordoba terminus of royal road and the ports of Valencia and Cartagena.

Far more important was his cousin Eva. With his aunt Isabel occupied in managing the unrest in Galicia and Asturias, her daughter spent a great deal of time with Constance, the imprisoned daughter of the late count. For most of that time Constance had not actually been at Toledo, but placed under a light guard in Daressina, then a relatively unimportant town.[1] Fortunately she had not yet grown to hate the Spaniards when Alejandro slew his father and Eva--being her same age--was able to befriend the girl and impress upon her that Alejandro desired to restore to her the rule of Toulouse.

As Alejandro continued to watch the south in the early March, men began to arrive in Toledo from across the kingdom. It was an unprecedented gathering of representatives of the local governors from the municipalities and rural districts across the kingdom. Alejandro knew he was running out of time, and he needed their support along with that of the rest of the Spañan ruling apparatus to level that had not before been seen and he prepared for it as best he could on the rapid notice. As they arrived Alejandro used all his partisans and allies to do what he could to gain their support for him. Most were willing enough but there was a clear reluctance to continue the war in the north. Many of these men had little concerns for the provinces there and saw the war as one more foolish act by the previous king. While not entirely successful, Alejandro valued the exercise because it allowed him to determine the difficulties and concerns of those officials most directly responsible for interacting with the populace and carrying out the orders of the king. To his great concern, as the days passed the grumbling continued and displeasure with his seeming inaction to end the war grew.

As tensions again began to rise, the day finally came that Alejandro was waiting for. Marques Maura had reached the royal road that extended from Cordoba to Salamanca and was on his way to the capital. With him, a rider of a horse with a banner of the same color as the Raptor, an envoy from the Byzantine Emperor. What could not be explained was a second contingent under a banner of dark blue. Accompanying Maura and the imperial envoy was a man no one expected--the fantastically exotic (to the locals) figure of Dubaku Jarbi, at the head of 1000 Takrurite horsemen. Sent to learn firsthand about their allies, Jarbi, a Wolof lord, had proven himself extremely adept at adopting and modifying Spañan battle doctrines for use in the south. Jarbi had proven himself in battle against the Ghana and was a symbol of the growing success of integration in the Takrur Empire. It was only after the arrival of all three men that Alejandro called all his officials and guests together in the Grand Hall.

The Grand Hall never had one builder. The plans were laid out by Abd ar-Rahman himself but never brought to fruition. When the city had been rebuilt following its destruction by the rebel Prince Juan in the Consulate War, the space in the palace had been left open and built up over the centuries since. As a result the overall construction of the hall was like most of the palace, in the basilican style, but with a quadruple line of columns with screened arches between them in repeating arabesque forms. Small stone plinths each topped with a sculpture were set in recesses in the walls along the Grand Hall. On each plinth was carved the name of one king, each sculpture was a symbol for that particular monarch, chosen by his successor. There were 12 sculptures, and it would be Alejandro who would choose the next for his father--Eva had suggested a knife.

When Alejandro entered the Grand Hall flanked by Lucas and Miguel, he spotted her near the central mosaic, the place with the best acoustics. As usual she was creating a minor scandal. Not only was she sans-veil, but her knee-length tunic was side-laced and the dress under it scandalously short.[2] At least her hair was covered. On her left was pale Constance more conservatively clothed with a russet veil, with Jarbi a commanding presence on her right. Throughout the hall officials from the agencies, several military officers, merchant representatives and governors spread out speaking or watching each other. There was suspicion but also a kind of unified wariness brought on by recent events. Here and there other women were present mostly wives but…. there. Sol Gonzalvin[3] from Cordoba, the most prominent of the current crop of female poets with her brother. Her work was popular throughout the south and she was dressed almost as daringly as his cousin.

Alejandro walked to the spot reserved for him, standing on a fantastically decorated mosaic based on circles and triangles and began to speak.
_____________________________________________
[1]Founded by Bermudo Dimas c. 990, located at OTL Burgos. The name is a corrupted form of the Arabic “dar as-sina’ah” which is manufactory, it basically means “the Works.”
[2]Unmarried women of all faiths are expected to veil in public. Married women have the option of veiling in public; No one veils in private. Side-lacing is considered racy since it draws attention to the bust (compare #157) and scandalously-short means it brushes the tops of her shoes.
[3]Sol “daughter-of-Gonzalo” in that the Arabic “bint” has been softened into “vin” and placed in the position occupied by more traditional Iberian patronymics. A regional variation appearing in areas with a larger Berber/Arab population. If she lived in say Santander, she would just be Gonzalez.

A/N: I re-wrote this post and introduced several new elements at the last minute. I apologize for any lowering of quality and hope to edit it later.
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  #203  
Old October 27th, 2009, 09:55 PM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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Hmm... I still get the feeling some kind of check on royal authority is going to come out of this. A good update, and it's going to be interesting to see how Alejandro deals with being, from your description, decidedly average in general.
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  #204  
Old October 27th, 2009, 10:20 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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Originally Posted by MNPundit View Post
[3]Sol “daughter-of-Gonzalo” in that the Arabic “bint” has been softened into “vin” and placed in the position occupied by more traditional Iberian patronymics. A regional variation appearing in areas with a larger Berber/Arab population. If she lived in say Santander, she would just be Gonzalez.
Just out of curiosity, why is the 'vin' at the end? French and Italian patronymic particles (as rare as they are) are at the beginning, so it's not like it's totally unknown to Romance ears/thought patterns.

Is this some OTL practice that is massively expanded, or did you invent it?

(Enquiring onomasticists want to know)
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  #205  
Old October 27th, 2009, 11:48 PM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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Originally Posted by Dathi THorfinnsson View Post
Just out of curiosity, why is the 'vin' at the end? French and Italian patronymic particles (as rare as they are) are at the beginning, so it's not like it's totally unknown to Romance ears/thought patterns.

Is this some OTL practice that is massively expanded, or did you invent it?

(Enquiring onomasticists want to know)
This is, generally speaking, the way it works in Spanish for "son of" in OTL. Fernandez, Gonzalez and Martinez for example are "Of Fernando", "Of Gonzalo" and "Of Martinez" respectively.
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  #206  
Old October 28th, 2009, 02:59 AM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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This is, generally speaking, the way it works in Spanish for "son of" in OTL. Fernandez, Gonzalez and Martinez for example are "Of Fernando", "Of Gonzalo" and "Of Martinez" respectively.
Well, yes, of course. But that is a specific construction - which looks to my Iberian ignorant eye like a survival of a Gothic genitive in -s. (Norman) French, e.g., puts the "Fitz" (modification of fils de) in front, and the rare "de P" names (where P is a prénom/given name) also have the particle in front. Given that 'bint' would always be in front in an Arabic context... Even in a Romance one, 'bint de Fernando' in place of 'hija/filia de Fernando', no?

Sorry, I get carried away by linguistic questions, firstly. And, secondly, it's your timeline. And thirdly WIERD things happen with languages (why on EARTH is the definite article postfixed in the Scandinavian languages and Romanian, but nowhere inbetween!?!), so your solution is certainly arguable....
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  #207  
Old October 28th, 2009, 04:09 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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Originally Posted by Dathi THorfinnsson View Post
Well, yes, of course. But that is a specific construction - which looks to my Iberian ignorant eye like a survival of a Gothic genitive in -s. (Norman) French, e.g., puts the "Fitz" (modification of fils de) in front, and the rare "de P" names (where P is a prénom/given name) also have the particle in front. Given that 'bint' would always be in front in an Arabic context... Even in a Romance one, 'bint de Fernando' in place of 'hija/filia de Fernando', no?

Sorry, I get carried away by linguistic questions, firstly. And, secondly, it's your timeline. And thirdly WIERD things happen with languages (why on EARTH is the definite article postfixed in the Scandinavian languages and Romanian, but nowhere inbetween!?!), so your solution is certainly arguable....
I'll weigh in. First, yes it's weird, it was meant to be one of those weird naming quirks. Probably helped ITTL by associations in Italy, since the Italians stick it on the end too being more closely based in the Latin. Huh, looking at it, Sol Vinde Gonzalo would be a very interesting way of putting it. No, must focus! Linguistics is a great thing to be interested in and if someone wants to construct stuff in the Romance-influenced West Germanic language that is alt-French that would be great. Nordisala as I pointed out for instance is the French name for the Commonwealth. For some reason despite growing up in Minnesota I absolutely am horrible with Nordic type language construction.

The Spanish Patronymic entry on the the Spanish Wikipedia is pretty helpful. General consensus is that it IS a Visigothic thing, that is unique among the Germanic languages. Possibly influenced by the Romans sticking the clan/house identifier on the ends (i.e. Julii) or an altered form of the Latin "onis" possessive word. Another possibility or contributing possibility is that it is a Basque convention not necessarily related to simply names that was borrowed and is now largely obsolete in Basque. This link is helpful. My own name follows the general rules of Spanish surnames with an Anglicized format (it switches the order) and my fiance intends to join in, tacking my last name onto her full name (for a total of 4). My mother's surname is "Father's Surname de Husband's Surname" and does that ever give the US government fits.

Wow, I wrote way too much there.

ED1:
@ minifidel in #203: Friday's update will be an interesting one in that regard. Alejandro's "thing" is that he is able to know his own limits, and discern pretty well the limits of the people around him. So he knows pretty well what he can do and what will blow up in his face.
ED2: Removed extra stuff, not really needed here.
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  #208  
Old October 30th, 2009, 01:52 PM
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Not an awesome episode, but it does what it has to do.

SPANIARDS

“All of you, those north of the mountains, and in the Maghreb, and here in the peninsula all look to one place. Here, to Toledo, to the king. To me.”

It was not a great a speech, but it was an important one. Alejandro summarized the state of the kingdom and more specifically the war with the French. He painted the losses as emblematic of his father’s reign and it was here that he put into words for the first time, the political philosophy that would emerge to guide the Kingdom of Spaña.[1]

“When my father ruled, he ignored his obligation!” Alejandro said. “He ordered you selfishly, for his own ends and the state suffered for it because though you obeyed him, his goals were unjust. You stopped obeying him because you saw his Rule was unjust. You could not obey orders that would lead to disharmony and strife--and you were right to do so. The responsibility to issue orders that create Justice is mine as the king, but the responsibility of creating that Justice is yours as those I rule over. This state belongs to you as much as it does to me, and we must all be held accountable for it. I returned from the east because I saw the injustice, the sin, growing. I did not want war among us, and tried to find a way to avoid so much bloodshed and conflict. That is why I struck at my father, to try and prevent a greater evil from walking among us. It is our duty, to learn and consider and pray on how to create that Justice. That duty is what it means to be a Spaniard.

“Those who resisted my father are justified. Let no harm come to them, now or in the future for those actions. But those who supported my father in his lawful orders are also justified. They did so because they thought it would bring harmony but they were mistaken. The actions of everyone of you were for one purpose, that of Justice. You were all attempting to fulfill your duty, your obligation. You are all Spaniards.

“The King of France rules by the power of the sword. What kind of rule is that? The instant power fades, chaos. The war between powers? Chaos. It is the opposite of Spaña. Each of us have a duty to maintain that Justice. We cannot abandon those who have that duty to the chaos that rule by the French king would lead to.”

Alejandro urged them to give him one more chance to save their fellow Spaniards in the north to drive back the chaos a little farther. He announced that all the subsidies and support to the Bulgarians had ceased and acknowledged Nicholas Balsamon as the Sovereign and the Singular Autocrat of the Romans.[2] He urged them to allow him to lead the last Spañan army north to battle the French and seek to restore the wronged Constance to her place in Toulouse. Then, he crowned his brother Miguel, King of Spaña in the second Cooperative Monarchy so that Miguel would order the state regardless of his own fate.

In an act arranged before hand, the Takrurite general Jarbi proclaimed his kingdom’s desire to assist their Spañan allies and that he would stay by Alejandro’s side. Then the Byzantine envoy stepped forward. It had taken some convincing to allow him to speak before the assembled notables instead of in personal consultation with the king but he had agreed. Reading a prepared statement before the assembly, he pledged the emperor’s support and well-being--and the hand of his daughter Sophia for Miguel.[3]

The announcements had the desired effect in dazzling most of the intended audience, but there was one more thing Alejandro had to do.

“A king and those who carry out his orders are equally responsible for the well-being of the state. Since you arrived here, I have spoken to many of you and learned the thoughts and concerns of more. My father threw many in prison and induced others to lie for that purpose. This was his chief way of attacking all who opposed him. A lie is the greatest threat to the Justice of the state, because it eats away at the state from within, quietly. When the king lies in the courts, the damage is all the greater--but no more.”

It was in the end, a small thing then but would be a symbol of a larger change. In that room, Alejandro III and his brother Miguel swore and signed a decree. It was witnessed by the envoys from Byzantium, and from Takrur. It was a simple thing, but with significant implication. If the king was shown to have defrauded the judiciary, it was in and of itself, grounds for his removal--legitimizing if only in a small vague manner what would eventually come to be called the Right of Revolution.

It was in this way that Alejandro obtained the support he needed to launch one final campaign into the north.
_________________________________
[1]Principles outlined (however vaguely):
1.The Purpose of the Ruler, is to establish peace and harmony in a society, that is Justice.
2.The Ruler seeks to establish Justice by ordering the Ruled.
3.The Ruled obey the Ruler and in doing so, create that Justice.
4. Both depend on each other for the creation of Justice, and have an equal obligation to ensure it’s creation.
[2]Actual phrase “Admito que Nicholas Balsamon es Basileus wi Autocrato unitares Romanes!” In Castillian it's "autocrata" but Spaña does not yet have a concept of women rulers so this is a word that is considered obviously a male world. If the Spaniards get progressive, the gender might switch to a neuter.
[3]The technical outcome is that the Spañan Kings are Consuls of “the West” and under the Emperor when in the east, where east is east of Italy. This basically acknowledges in a circular way, the division of the Mediterranean originally agreed to in 976 that lost the Bulgarians the throne while saving face. This will be explored more in the future. Thanks to MDtK for helping me out with this idea.

BRETON WAR OF SUCCESSION: Territorial Borders 1019
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  #209  
Old October 31st, 2009, 04:26 AM
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  #210  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 10:06 PM
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Camelry!

MOUNTS

Somewhere in Limousin, 1019

Eoin held himself very still as a leaf tickled at his leg. His light-mail armor dulled by design and the clouds ensured that no telltale flash would serve to alert unfriendly eyes even if he moved. With him were a score of footmen from the Fifth of Ulster, armed with swords and shield like himself. Surrounding them were the kerns with their leather armor and javelins. More importantly were Roric's Bretons, spear men mostly but more than a few with the fearsome Breton short bows. He wished for a few of the fearsome gallóglaigh, those mercenaries the Emperor had hired from Albaney. But the Bretons would serve well enough, he knew their mettle. Eion flicked his eyes to the right trying to mark where the treeline ended, he'd picked a spot that could offer concealment but that would close enough to the edge of the woods to make the enemy careless.

He stiffened--a dabchick call, followed by two more where there was no water around. It must be the scouts. Men more accustomed to the forests and bogs of home, unsuited for battle but trustworthy enough in this duty. After what we did to them at Angers the French are not going to be interested in taking the time to bribe us today, he thought. Not that it would be easy, the Emperor’s coffers ensured that only the greediest would risk betrayal to the French.[1] Eoin tapped one the footmen on the shoulder and passed the order for readiness. He watched it carefully circulate through the men just as he got his first sight of the French. His fingers curled around his own sword in anticipation as the French pressed on to the west, thankfully oblivious. He smiled just a little as the handful of men on horseback passed him. Whichever was commanding that company would soon live to regret it and he would be rich, he just had to pick the right moment..... suddenly one of the men on horseback shifted but it was too late.

“Ionsáigh!”[2]

*********

Eoin was jubilant. Almost twice their number slain with only a handful of casualties, but even more because of the capture of the two knights. They would fetch a good price, even if they were only Normans. He could hear several of his men mocking their landless status as they emerged from the woods and into the meadow beyond. The land he could tell was not in tremendously good shape, it had been a farm he could tell that much but had been overgrown for some years.

While marked by sieges and occasional battles in the field, ambushes like the one had just conducted were rare. What was not rare were the mounted raids to loot and devastate the peasantry, starve enemy cities and force supplies to be transported from the heartlands of the combatants. Ireland had initially had an advantage in this with their sailing experience but France had surprised them with her ingenuity. He’d seen them only twice himself, but Eoin knew that the French had laid down long stretches of wooden track in places where there were no rivers. Roads were expensive and time consuming, track as well but much less so. With wagons secured by the tracks, they had been able to transport supplies much more efficiently that anyone had suspected freeing up many horses. They were not everywhere of course as they were somewhat delicate and had difficulty with rocky ground but the French armies could supplied much more flexibly.[3]

This particular group was a foraging party bound from Poitiers. The supplies that were meant to go to that town would instead be going to the Irish forces attempting to recapture it. As such, many of his men were weighted down with those supplies as well as the horses they’d captured though of course their burdens were light as he did not want to injure any of the warhorses. Though perhaps he would be allowed to take one for himself. Eoin would have enjoyed sending it back to his holding where he had been trying to breed a larger strain with the native Irish horses, a task that had proved marginal even after years.

Perhaps it was this distraction that caused him to forget to set any kind of lookout, or perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered as they had no horse-boys with them. Regardless the next thing he knew were shouts of alarm and the thunder of hooves as a terrifyingly large group of horsemen appeared in the horizon. Any hope that these were on his side were dashed when he saw a banner with the tongues on fire on it--a unit directly under the French King.[4]

He scrambled his men, but they were in the middle of the meadows and as such were perfect targets. Roric was shouting for the spearmen to form up around the archers but even that wouldn’t help much. Not enough archers, not enough spearmen to hold them back for long even though they were not full knights and even if they could get organized in time…

…and then there was a sharp sound and several of the French riders fell from their saddlers

Eoin’s head whipped around to witness what he could only call a miracle. A second mounted force was approaching, and one that looked almost outlandish. Still staring, he saw several load and fire small crossbows and one of the enemy horses screamed and collapsed, taking her rider with it. Meanwhile several more riders shot forward and getting almost suicidal close, hurled javelins at the Frenchmen before whirling away. By now, the French charge had stalled, breaking up into it’s component parts and Roric was trying to order his bowmen for an advance. But the most bizarre sight was yet to come.

For what broke the Frenchmen, sent their horses scattering in fear and chaos, were not the arrows and javelins, but the score of men bearing lances tripped with the familiar dark gold flag. Men with dark skin and a few black riding not horses, but camels.
_____________________________
[1]The Irish are the main trading entity all along northwest Europe and the Baltic. The Spaniards tend to use them as middlemen for the Mediterranean goods. This was one way that the Emperor achieved more functional control of Ireland. Consequently he can equip his armies pretty well so the kerns get leather or padded armor instead of nothing.
[2]attack/assault
[3]wagonways
[4]Sparks from the Oriflamme, the number indicates the unit. Basically a company of non-noble horsemen trained and equipped by the king. The Ghulam concept (thanks to Spaña) developed ITTL during the Persian-Abbasid wars, has migrated and penetrated Europe where it has evolved a bit.
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  #211  
Old November 4th, 2009, 10:29 AM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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I look forward to the next chapter, which I presume will relate to the international horse trade, horse breeding and relative merits of oats vs suger lumps as horse fodder
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Old November 4th, 2009, 11:26 AM
Hecatee Hecatee is offline
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What one could call a thunderous conclusion to this new installment, a very good read overall. And indeed the idea of camels breaking the french charge is a nice touch, the question now being : "will we see a new kind of long haired camels bred by the french" in a future war ?

The tracks logistics is also a very nice twist, I'm not sure anyone used such system IRL at the time but it's a good idea.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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I"m still following this and the writing is still good.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 06:18 AM
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I look forward to the next chapter, which I presume will relate to the international horse trade, horse breeding and relative merits of oats vs suger lumps as horse fodder
I um, actually had a little bit on horse breeding (they are on the road to breeding the classic Andalusian Horses) but I'm putting it off until later! As it is the "knights" tend to use Berber-Arabian or Berber horses while the light cavalry missile/javelin troops ride Lusitano types.
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What one could call a thunderous conclusion to this new installment, a very good read overall. And indeed the idea of camels breaking the french charge is a nice touch, the question now being : "will we see a new kind of long haired camels bred by the french" in a future war ?

The tracks logistics is also a very nice twist, I'm not sure anyone used such system IRL at the time but it's a good idea.
The Spaniards recruited a lot of Berbers from the Sahara plus the Takrurite horsemen so they've got several thousand light (Berbers/Takrurite) and a few hundred heavy (Takrurite) lancers. The Berbers are the ones with the camels. We might get a few Frenchmen on camels later!

One thing I didn't point out about the wagonways is that they are coated in a kind of varnish for protection and to make it easier for the wheels to roll across them. As long as stuff that's not too heavy gets put on the wagons, it shouldn't be too crazy. The French are making discoveries too, and they have the wood make us of them. France has lots of north/south rivers but only a few east-west ones in their territory and so they've had to build by necessity since the Irish particularly can transit by sea, one reason they continue expanding along the coast.
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I"m still following this and the writing is still good.
Thanks! Anything you'd like to see, or questions on etc. Once this little war ends I'll be tiding up some lose ends and finishing off this volume before taking a break to recharge and research a different area of the world... Always wished you'd finished A Health Baby Boy, btw, liked that one.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 07:56 PM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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With the slightly more advanced naval technology of this timeline I wonder if it is possible that someone else might beat the Polynesians to settling what is now New Zealand.

I am no demographic historian, but it appears that actual settlement (as opposed to exploration/discovery) of NZ by the Polynesians began in about the 13th century AD, with European contact being in the mid 17th century, by which time there was a large, stable Maori population.

If we have cog like ships wandering about the Oceans by about the 10th century, then it is quite possible that even if they don't beat settlement, they will beat the firm establishment of a large Maori population.

Which I hope results in some sort of Moa cavalry.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Julius Vogel View Post
Which I hope results in some sort of Moa cavalry.
Moas eh? I'll add it to the research topics. That's good, that's what I'm looking for. I never would have thought of it otherwise!


RETURN TO WAR

Alejandro could not take the credit for the strategy that unfolded over the summer and early autumn of 1019, that had to go to Sanzo de Mallorca. Forced to largely make his own way in the world, he had become a mercenary first for the various powers or northern Italy but soon had been sucked up into the French wars of the late Tenth Century. Returning not long before the start of the Breton War, he had been given a command in the south and done much to forge an understanding with the Berber and western Imazaghan (Tuareg) tribes over the point of a sword and over a bargaining table. In the present, Sanzo de Mallorca used his experience with the French military system developed by King Robert and his father and the resources at his disposal to turn back the raids south of the Pyrenees and once again free much of the Mediterranean coastline. In this the young Heiress Constance proved invaluable as owing to the war the French control had been heavy handed and onerous and she was perceived favorably by the locals as the news began to spread of the Spañan goal of installing her in Toulouse.

In the west, the cavalry heavy armies of Berber and Spañan horsemen were instrumental in forcing the surrender of the French garrison at Poitiers at the very end of the general campaign season. The fighting however did not end even when the snows fell. Though it’s magnitude decreased, by now the Irish and French had also developed a capacity to support significant standing armies[1] and raids continued with the Spañan horse crossing to the eastern side of the Loire before the new year.[2] It was during the beginning of 1020 that the Spaniards who had fought in the Sahel arrived north of the mountains. Led by Fourth Duke Martin Pabliz, they had sailed along the coast, reequipped in the peninsula and arrived at Bordeyo over 3000 strong and ready to fight. While representing almost the last of the professional troops at their disposal, these were the most experienced and it was these men that were instrumental in the plan Martin and Sanzo hammered out over the winter.

With the crossbow jinetes and Berber camelry Duke Martin was more familiar with, they waited at Bordeyo while the rest of the mounted Spaniards ran wild across the Loire and the Rhone. They burned hundreds of French villages and tore up any of the tracked passages they came across. Together with some of the Limousins, they managed to severely curtail the supplies going south to support the French Constable. While Toulouse was fairly good land, war had been raging across it to a greater or lesser degree for some fifteen years and the French armies in the south had need of re-supply to operate effectively. So to, the Siege of Auscita had proved to be a tremendously brutal affair for both besieged and besieger and it was only by constant supply of men and food that the French armies around the city had been maintained.

With supplies constrained, Constable Acoin sent much of his cavalry north to combat the raiders and force open a secure passage. In their hurry they took the shortest route north going through the town of Agen and it was there that the Spaniards met them. Not long after the weather changed, Duke Martin floated his infantry on barges down the Garona River with his cavalry along the banks. It was these men that stood astride the bridge over the Garona at Agen when the French cavalry attempted to cross. Contemptuous of footmen and with their best commanders still in Auscita, the Battle of the Agen proved disastrous for the French. Once a large contingent of the cavalry had cross over, the way behind was blocked by the spearmen and few pikemen available. The French were then assailed by crossbow bolts, javelins and finally attacked head on by the Berbers and slaughtered. Two desperate attempts to reach the trapped horsemen were repulsed and by the time the Spaniards crossed the bridge themselves, the French were falling back. But it was the crossbow jinetes that proved their worth here as their harassing attacks turned an orderly retreat into a panicked route and for over a week the scattered French forces were hunted down by the Spaniards.

With the larger part of the French cavalry killed of captured, Duke Martin marched south and Sanzo marched west after assisting the Provencals in launching their own attack up the Rhone. Constable Acoin saw the pincer that was moving on Auscita. A final assault against the walls failed and rather than be trapped against them he fell back rapidly toward the real prize of the south, Toulouse.

But the French general had miscalculated. By now the success of the Spaniards and the presence of Constance had done two things: much of the native populace was rallying to the girl and against the French[3] and many of the Spañan officers that had fled to Toulouse rejoined the Spañan army after offer of an amnesty was proclaimed. Consequently the worst of all possible worlds descended on the French in the south. Constable Acoin was under siege in Toulouse itself but with so much of his cavalry gone he could not realistically attempt to break out. The Spaniards could not storm the castle either, but Acoin now found that he had too many soldiers to properly support once the Spaniards managed to control the river traffic.

To maintain their army, the civilians of Toulouse were ejected by the French from the city by violence. As they streamed out of the castle they discovered to their horror that the Spaniards were neither prepared to let them pass, nor able to feed them. Trapped between two hostile forces and in full view of both they huddled miserably together and proceeded to starve. Rumors of cannibalism among the refugees flew through the camp but the horror was enough without them. As Sanzo wrote:
The moans of those wretched people and the cries of their children were such that from the moment
we awoke until the we laid down to sleep we could not escape them. But soon even sleep was no
refuge for as their misery multiplied they began to follow us into our dreams.

Morale fell and even the recapture of Lyon by the Provençals did little to bolster their spirits--especially when the news arrived that King Robert was returning to the west with the aim of forcing a decisive confrontation with Spaña.
________________________________
[1]Maybe 5,000 at most. Since Spaña has fewer heavy knights, better roads and more money, they can support a larger over all force in the field.
[2]Horses only, the camels were kept closer to home during the winter.
[3]The people of Toulouse speak a language that is much less similar than the languages of d’oc and d’oil were at this time and with their de facto independence since the late 950s the French are seen mostly as foreigners.

SPANIARD MILITARY MOVEMENTS
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  #217  
Old November 10th, 2009, 05:38 PM
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Fun Fact: In 1006 Spaña could field 35,831.25 actual fighting-fit male warriors...

THE SECOND DIVISION

The eviction of Toulouse began with the old and sick but soon only soldiers remained behind the walls of the town. The Spaniards made one attempt to allow the refugees through, but the French had mixed in their soldiers with the refugees and a widespread disorganized battle began. Intended as a diversion for Reynaud Acoin’s attempt to break the siege it almost worked. By the time the French retreated back into Toulouse though, their cavalry forces were destroyed. Duke Martin was even able to send some horsemen north where they could be of some use. As siege dragged on, Constance of Toulouse returned with a large number of supplies she obtained only by beggaring herself to the Provencals. Prevailing upon the Spañan Dukes to take advantage of a pre-planned assault, she was able to organize the refugees and passed them through the Spañan lines. The survivors were immediately placed on the depopulated farms in the region and gained her much favor with her future subjects so that despite being nominally under the Spaniards, she preserved much independence.

Meanwhile, co-King Alejandro had been focusing on making sure supplies got to his armies where needed and secondly meeting with the emperor in Roazhin to coordinate plans and to try and hammer out a political arrangement between all the kingdoms fighting the French. He found the Emperor Brian distracted by Calais. His best commander, Ard Tiarna Ruadri mac Faelan[1] was finally on the verge of capturing the port. Previous attempts at siege had been unsustainable but this time the port was finally closed off by sea. Ruadri’s race against the growing French army at Metz failed when 2,500 men, most of them knights, were dispatched north under Robert’s young son Charles.

In a fit of desperation or perhaps madness, Alejandro promised Spañan assistance. That he delivered it was a miracle. Riding with his men south, he was able to gather together many of his mounted units that had been directed to continue raiding French territory. Leading them was one of what were colloquially called the Spañan Mamluks.[2] When the Spañan force reached Calais they found the French already attacking the Irish, trapping them between the defenders of the castle and the Prince’s forces. But the prince being so young had miscalculated and the Spaniards swept away his screening force and descended un-looked for on the French. The French were routed and Charles was captured and sent to Bordeos[3] where he was met by Lucas Almaghreb and kept under a careful watch though any plan to exchange the prince for Duke Adam was ended when the older man died of illness.

With a significant number of Spaniards in the north and his son captured, King Robert moved at last in the spring of 1022. Setting out for Clermont the last major town he controlled north of Toulouse, his advance units met a Spanish force led by Duke Martin on the River Cher.[4] While the Spaniards were defeated, the French vanguard was disrupted enough to force it to before reaching Clermont. The most notable aspects of the battle were the meeting between the Spañan elites and the French Slav Guard where the Spaniards proved the better by a hair and that it delayed the French advance just long enough; After reaching at Clermont King Robert received word that Toulouse had fallen due to a new kind of Spañan siege engine.[5]

Even with the fall of Toulouse the Spaniards would have been hard pressed to face the French in open battle with so many of their soldiers spread apart on raids or with the Irish. The reason for the French offer of parley in 1022 later became clear: with French money and manpower directed elsewhere for so long the French client state of Slovakia had collapsed under the assault of the Pechengs. Not content with looting the crumbling Slovaks, the raids were beginning to reach into eastern France.

After a significant period of negotiations, the Pact of Orleans (known as the Second Division of Europe to the Spaniards) was agreed to early in 1023 by all sides. Empress Maria was crowned Princess of Brittany but Emperor Brian would assist her in running the state. To solve the future of the succession, a curious arrangement was brokered: the Crown would be held by the Irish but could only be bestowed upon a native Breton. The practical result was that for at least the foreseeable future, the Irish Heir would wed a daughter of one of the most powerful Breton nobles and upon the death of her mother-in-law, would be crowned Princess of Brittany in her own right.

Both Limousin and Provence were granted independence though the Provencals at least, would only be crowned in a ceremony by the French King. A number of cities changed hands, including Orleans giving the French a bottleneck on the Loire trade. The French would also be guaranteed small trade colonies in the great port cities on the Atlantic or Mediterranean in exchange for recognizing both states.

One final provision and this was put down in writing in the native languages of all sides and signed not only by the emperor but by all the significant Irish and Breton lords, concerned the territorial future of the Irish Empire. It took significant pressure from the Spaniards but it was done and signed at last: the Irish pledged to keep the border with the French as it was in perpetuity--and officially renounced any future continental expansion. Any dreams the Emperor harbored of a European Irish political hegemony were over lest he care to fight alone and against the vastly more populous continental kingdoms. While the reason for his agreement may never be known--or why the Irish honored it for some time--many have speculated that Irish eyes were already looking in a new direction, the west…
________________________________
[1]Ard Tiarna = "High Lord" (roughly)
[2]Children either orphaned or given by their families to be raised for state military service. The heaviest knights Spaña fields, more on these later--help me determine a good name!
[3]Bordeaux, changed the name. Sorry.
[4]Near OTL Montluçon
[5]Counter-weight trebuchets
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  #218  
Old November 10th, 2009, 05:42 PM
Jord839 Jord839 is offline
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Irish turning west? Do I smell Celtic colonies?

This is an excellent TL, MNPundit. Keep up the good work.
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  #219  
Old November 10th, 2009, 05:44 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jord839 View Post
Irish turning west? Do I smell Celtic colonies?

This is an excellent TL, MNPundit. Keep up the good work.
Spoiler.
Boston actually.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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  #220  
Old November 11th, 2009, 10:35 AM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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Looking good - what are the eastern borders of France?
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