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Old June 14th, 2009, 02:23 PM
rcduggan rcduggan is offline
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All I can say is that this is an amazing timeline, on of the most original I've seen in a very long time. An eighth-century Christian resurgence, conflict with the Abbasids... very good job MNPundit.
(I realize that this post is kind of a cop-out. So I will reread the TL and later post more feedback based on analysis of the events themselves.)
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Old June 14th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Thrones, Chapter VI

@rcduggan: Thank you, this next part might be a bit wanky however.

Part I


Karim al-Misri (Abbasid Caliphate)


17,000 Arab Regulars
--14,000 Infantry
--3,000 cavalry

7,000 Auxiliaries
--5,000 Zaydi Infantry
--2,000 Berber Infantry and Camel Cavalry

3,000 Taifa Allies (at Carmona)

Asturians and Allies (Abd ar-Rahman and Charles I)

7,000 Franks
--6,000 Infantry (spearmen)
--1,000 Cavalry (heavy)

6,500 Asturians
--4,900 (mostly) light infantry
--1,600 cavalry (light and heavy)

1,400 Zaragozans
--600 Infantry
--800 Cavalry

2,100 Taifa Allies
--1,500 Infantry
--600 Cavalry

1,600 Carmona Garrison

As the Asturian cavalry advances across the stream, the Abbasid army showers them with arrows. However these were the mostly heavily armored cavalry the King had, covered in mail and with horses in felt barding. They slowly and steadily advanced across the river, losing a few in return as the Christian archers began to fire their own bows. Keeping pace behind them, the King ordered them to charge the last few meters in the shallow, rocky stream. They crashed into the Abbasid cavalry that was drawn up in the center of the enemy line and the battle began.

The King rode up behind them as well encouraging them. Behind him came the rest of the, the spearmen already into the stream. It was not deep, but the Franks, led by Roland, noticably slowed in the crossing. On either side of them, the Taifa units advanced, covering the flanks of the heavy cavalry in the front on either side. Sudenly, ahead of them a strange sight, the Abbasid flag was joined by another, a pure white flag: an Umayyad flag.

Almost immediately a shout rose from the Zaragozans and all of them, ALL turned and fled right through his men, causing much confusion and breaking up the cohesion of their lines. Immidiately the Abbasid army surged forward, throwing the Asturian cavalry back in what was almost certain to become an evelopment.

"Get the spearmen in position!" the king shouted as he and his personal guard advanced to try and salvage something. Already the line in the front was collapsing but thanks to his advance he was able to open a path for his own cavalry, battered, exhausted, to retreat and behind him the Frankish spearmen rushed onto the bank, still somehow, in passable order and in the face of the Abbasid cavalry's advance, presented their famous shieldwall before the cavalry could gain momentum. Even from where he was he could see the Abbasid horsemen stagger in a line as they met the Frankish spears. Dozens were cut down before they managed to retreat as the line reformed on the bank.

Urging on his javelin armed infantry, they took up a position behind the protection of the shield wall and began to hurl their javelins at the Abbasids. Slowly, very slowly, they began to advance right into the enemy army. Karim ordered his re-grouped cavalry to charge the flanks where there were less spearmen but more volleys of Javelins blunted their charge and the flanks held.

The King's attention was drawn by a commotion behind him and keeping an eye on the battle-line he rode back across the stream where men were running about in barely controlled chaos. Charles explained that they Zaragozans had not in fact, fled, they had turned traitor and were attacking the Asturian camp. After a short conversation, the King took most of his personal guard to engage the traitorus Zaragozans while Charles took almost all the remaining heavy cavalry and lightly armed Jinetes and rode west as fast as he could.

After driving off the Zaragozan raiders, the King returned to the main battle line which seemed to have barely changed in the interrim. But he could see the tide of battle swinging against him. They had done alright so far, the disadvantage of wading through the stream and fighting just off the bank negated by the fact that Karim could not envelope the entire army due to the water. His Javelin men were also causing great damage to the enemy. But there were too many, he could see the line slowly shrinking in on itself. With the Zaragozans able to return any time to attack from the rear, things did not look good.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Thrones, Chapter VI

Part II

Charles rode hard west with as many horsemen as could be safely spared. He felt exhilarated, he'd fought in battles before some large, but nothing this size and with these stakes. He could feel the fire in his blood, but also felt clear, his mind honed to razor sharpness. He would save the fire for his sword but how best to use it?

To the west along the stream, there was another ford. It was a small one, and deep. Too deep and narrow for foot soldiers to cross, but navigable for horsemen. The King had known it was there, Karim had also known, and had stationed a guard there. But now, after the battle had begun they were distracted and Charles drove them off with his own cavalry before setting forth to Carmona.

At the citadel he attacked the complacent besieging force, scattering it quickly when the Carmona garrison emerged. In the end, most of the men in that force had been forcibly recruited in Karim's invasion, and many of them were happy to return home instead of fighting for the hated Abbasids. With these forces, Charles turned east again hoping that the battle was not yet over.

----

At the stream, the battle was almost over. The Zaragozans had returned and had slowly pushed the Asturians back closer to the stream. Now everyone in the army could see they were surrounded and fear and panic began to rise up in it. A feeling you could almost taste. Horrendous causalities were in evidence on both sides but Karim could afford it more. Suddenly a cry went up from the Franks and the King's head whipped around. He could see the line of their spearmen began to waiver and there was no one to urge them on.

Roland! Roland was down. Cursing to himself in Arabic, the King had no choice but to once again move himself to the frontline to try and encourage who was left but it was not going well.

So... he thought, In the end, not enough.

He readied himself then, he had sworn whatever happened he would not leave this field in defeat and so he would not be leaving this field. It was as simple as that. He rode closer to the front line, determined, a hero maybe or a martyr. His only regret was that he would not see his beloved Lisina again.

But in the end he was neither. For Charles was the Hero that day.

Pushing as hard as he'd dared practicably, Charles and the infantry from Carmona had advanced. When he'd arrived he saw the danger, the army being pushed in from both sides, and Roland off his feet. Clenching his fist in a cold rage, he readed his men and in a charge that would have been spectacular if lancers had been around then, took the entire left flank of the Abbasid army by surprise.

Behind him the Jinetes also hurled their Javelins then charged breaking up the line when Charles struck it. The damage was incredible, the entire Abbasid flank collapsing in mere moments the fleeing soldiers sending the center into confusion as Charles advanced inexorably forward, his sword already covered in blood. Charles could see the Abbasid general now, desperately trying to rally his men, and with a shout at those nearest him, drove straight for the Commander's banner and all the auxiliaries fled.

As the Abbasid army disintegrated, the Zaragozans realized it too late. And now even as the horsemen turned in pursuit of the fleeing enemy, they were set on by a hail of missiles and very angry, frustrated Asturians who butchered any of them they caught.

In the end, the victory was total. Karim al-Misri the Egyptian, was brought to the King by Charles himself. His head was taken, packed in salt, and sent to the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mansur, who when he recieved the present, exclaimed “God be praised for placing a sea between us!” and dubbed him--for he could not in conscience, associate Abd ar-Rahman with the Quraysh any longer--the Raptor of Spain.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 09:19 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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Loving the TL! I'm unlikely to keep up with it, having never read a TL all the way through (including my own!), but good work nonetheless, and I'll do my best.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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Thrones, Chapter VII

OOC: Thanks BG. All comments and readers are appreciated, even if they only do so for a short time.

@Rakhasa, this should respond to your last comments.

In the aftermath of the victory at Rio Carbones, the king and Charles held a victory feast. Roland was badly injured but looked to be recovering. Throughout the rest of 766, the King of Asturias extended his authority into the occupied Taifas. Many of their men had been killed or scattered when the Abbasid army had been annihlated, others had already been killed resisting them or the Emirate of Zaragoza in the east. Most were in anarchy and the Asturians with the help of their Frankish allies quickly moved to assert control. In the southwest the Taifa of Lisbon after recieving so much help and land from the King pledged itself to him as a vassal out of no little fear.

The Franks for their part were largely ambivalent about remaining in Spain. They had been given the larger share of the plunder from the Abbasid camp and so were not rebellious but were a bit non-plussed at remaining. They did so because 25 year old Charles had struck up a great friendship with the King. Charles was fascinated by the King's tales of his life as an Umayyad prince in the distant east as well as his actions since then, taking the small Asturian Kingdom and dominating the peninsula. So too, they were planning the assault of the traitorous Zaragozans who it was said, were sending messengers to sue for peace to both the Franks and the king after they had managed to conquer the foothold the Emir had siezed on the southeast coast near Denia.

There was even discussion of crossing the Straight of Tarik* but that was just talk for now, though a few Christian missionaries had made an crossing on their own.

They planned much in the capital at Toledo, and parted late in the year in good spirits, Charles heading north from Toledo with a sizeable escort to take ship and organize the Zaragozan assault while Roland slowly convaleced and would lead the bulk of the Franks northward on foot, Spain not having the number of the ships to support an army of that size in anything approaching reasonable time. This the king took though to remedying and would make plans to correcting the error after Charles left.

It was a chance remark from Charles made as he was leaving that caused the King to pause. He had taken the north the central areas and much of the coast. He was without a doubt the dominant monarch south of the mountains and the peninsula was for all intents and purposes his.

And so, begining in AD 767, proclamations and announcements were made in the name of Avidus Araman, King of Spania.

*Gibraltar

Note: In regards to Avidus Araman as opposed to Abderramán
1) since his name means Servant of Allah, he thinks it's inappropriate to use a transliteration so close as his regnal name
2) to strengthen his ties to the region as Christian monarch he chose a more Romanized name
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Old June 16th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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Part III: Sons, Chapter I

NOTE: A SHORT SUMMARY OF THE NEXT TWO POSTS IS INCLUDED BELOW. SKIP TO IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ALL THIS.

767:
The King of Spaña re-organizes his domains, crosses the Straight of Tarik and builds a military settlement on the coast of North Africa naming it Fentiside (Fen-tee-see-deh) “The Lord Comes” a reference to both the arrival of the King‘s rule, and Christianity in what was fast becoming the language of the peninsula (a more Castillian flavored Mozarabic).

Roland and the Frankish army have been annihilated at the pass of Somport by the Zaragozans. It had been a risk, taking that old Roman road north but Roland had wanted to make all speed to return to Charles because word had come that King Pepin was ill. Roland himself is among the missing.

768: Pepin dies, Charles and Carloman take charge. Aquitaine rebels and Carloman goes to put down the rebellion but struggles. Combined with the loss at Somport and they cannot afford to attack the Zaragozans neither do the Spaniards. The sliver of Spaniard land in the Mahgreb is expanded south and west.

769: The King of Spania takes Tangier. He takes his bastard son, Salamon (b. 758) with him and begins to instruct him on campaign. The Enabling Laws, setting down religious pluralism, are enacted.

Carloman is killed putting down the uprising in Aquitaine and Charles has no choice but to leave the eastern marches and take up the task himself.

770: Due to Charles' absence the Saxons begin a series of heavy raids in the northeast and Charles must go north to deal with the situation. Along the way he gets half-hearted assistance from the Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria (who is nominally a Frankish vassal). Occupied with this action, Charles does not receive Desiderius the Lombard's offer of his daughter to Charles. Tassilo, perhaps out of a sense of mischief or resentment at being dragged along with Charles on campaign manages to delay the envoys long enough for Pope Stephen III to prevail on Desiderius to withdraw the offer before Charles hears of it. Instead she marries the rebellious Duke of Spoleto after Desiderius crushes Benevento and bring it under his rule.

771: Charles marries the Frankish lady, Gerberga as the campaign against the Saxons continues. Without his personal presence (he left for his marriage) progress slows and the Saxons regain the initiative.

King Avidus launches an invasion of the Balearic Islands conquering Ibiza and parts of Majorca.

The Lombards under Desidarius push the Byzantines out of most of southern Italy. Duke Theodicius of Spoleto dies in the fighting and through his daughter’s claim Desidarius becomes regent of Spoleto for her baby son, Audoin and guardian for their baby daughter, Marozia.

Constantine born in Byzantium to the Heir Leo and his wife Irene of Athens.

772: Salamon takes part in the conquest of Minorca as an observer.

Desidarius completes the conquest of Italy and the remaining Byzantines evacuate to Sicily, fortifying the island more strongly.

Charles continues his raids on the Saxons defeating them at last. But his desire for revenge for Roland’s death after Somport makes him more concerned with the south and he leaves without annexing their lands. With their lands devestated and no idea when Charles is coming back, many of the Saxons grow deseprate enough to abandon their lands with their families and sail to England, joining the Saxon Kingdoms there to escape the "Butchter from Aachen." These new Saxons are not welcomed very much by those living in England and are placed on the frontier with the Welsh. With little to lose the new Saxons viciously attack the lands of the Brittons in the west and push them even closer to the sea.

773: Charles invades and there are several nasty ambushes in the mountain passes. They are not destroyed.

Consolidating his hold on Southern Italy and with Charles bogged down in Zaragoza, Desidarius overruns Papal Italy and lays siege to Ravenna with help from the renegade Bavarian Duke Tassilo III.

774: The Spaniards invade Zaragoza from the west and the south. The King focuses on gaining territory at little cost to himself preferring to let Charles, who is obviously on a personal quest for vengeance, take the lead. Charles continues to fight his way south.

Ravenna falls and Desiderius attacks Rome. After Ravenna, Tassilo returns to Bavaria and fortifies it against Avar raids from the east. Standing alone they have remain largely on defensive. The Avars can now launch more raids including the Bulgarian state in the east, against which they make strong gains.

Because of the Avar pressure, Telerig the Bulgarian is considered too weak and his successor Kardam over throws him. Telerig flees to the Emperor and begs for help. Constantine the V demurs and instead imprisons him and fortifies the border preparing an assault on the weakened Bulgarians.

With the Emperor busy with the Bulgars, and the Kings of the West battling the Zaragozans, there is no one for Pope Adrian to beg for help. On August 21, 774, Rome is captured by Desiderius and Pope Adrian is kept under house arrest “for his own protection.” Pope Adrian remains silent, convinced he must deal with the Lombards for now.

775: Zaragoza falls to Avidus and Charles finally breaks out of the mountains and over-runs the rest of the Emirate. After meeting together in Zaragoza, Charles and Avidus plot out the future of the lands. Half the Emirate goes to Charles. About a fifth goes to Avidus, the rest is jointly administered from Zaragoza between the Spaniards and the Franks in an effort to increase cooperation between the two peoples.

Constantine V prepares to invade Bulgaria but reports from his agents indicate that a large battle will likely take place between the Avars and the Bulgars and Constantine decides instead to attack the Serbians instead, earning some successes against them but progress is slow in the mountains though he wins back Thessaly.

Al-Mahdi assumes the Caliphate.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 04:21 PM
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Sons, Chapter I, Part II

776: Constantine V continues his advance into Serbia, meanwhile Charles and Avidus complete the partition of Zargoza and Charles sends his son Pepin to Zaragoza while Avidus sends his eldest legitimate son Peio to join him so they can get some experience in ruling. They also begin a nascent cultural exchange. On his way home, Charles becomes ill due to the cool air. The Maghreb expedition continues slowly.

The Lombards fortify passes in the Alps against the Franks and draw closer to Bavaria. They also open talks with Byzantium who has begun to worry about the Franks more openly since the fall of Zaragoza. The Lombards despite holding Rome are not an imperial threat like Charles.

777:
Charles launches an final assault on the Saxons, subduing them in a series of vicious assaults that last until 780 before turning south. King Avidus founds a city in the Maghreb, and names it Luz. While he considers it a city that will bring Light to the Maghreb in turns of cultural and urban civilization, his more devout Christian subjects (of which there are more each year) consider it a place that will bring the light of Christ to the Maghreb. The Spaniards also begin to trade more heavily with the Lombards.

780:
Constantinve V reconquers Serbia. In a rather large break with tradition, Marozia marries Constantine VI though of course, both are still too young to truly understand what it means. Her dowry is Ravenna which returns to Byzantine control. Irene is furious but Constantine the V over-rules her before he leaves for the coast to receive the bride and to deal with certain matters in Serbia that require his attention. On his return he is killed by a lone Serbian. The assassin is killed by a teenage auxiliary that had been picked up by the Byzantines somewhere in Macedonia, Krum. When the body is returned to the Capital, Leo IV takes a liking to Krum and who claims he is of noble Bulgarian descent, but his family was displaced by the Avars. Krum is designated to the guard the body as it travels to it’s burial site* and this endears him to Leo.

Charles creates the Duchy of Saxony.

*It wasn’t buried in the capital because Constantine Copronymous was considered an Iconlicastic Heretic.

781: Leo IV dies. Charles and Avidus spend a year gathering their forces to invade the Lombards and Bavaria. The Avars once again gain the upper-hand against the Bulgars.

782:Avidus invades Corsica and Sardinia. His navy now much stronger than 15 years before and performs rather well as a force of Franks arrives on Corsica to assist them. Salamon leads this force of Franks and Spaniards while Avidus and his son Peio move south into Sardinia with a pure Spaniard force. Jon, the King’s younger legitimate son is sent to Zaragoza with Pein and the two become fast friends both knowing they are superfluous sons.

Charles invades Bavaria before Italy proper.

782: Charles crushes Bavaria and runs right into the Avars whom he defeats. Corsica falls to the joint force, which sets up a unified administrative structure as they had in Zaragoza.

783: Charles finally manages to invade Italy and Avidus conquers Sardinia for Spania. Charles moves through Italy quickly and mercilessly, killing any who stand in his was as Desiderius falls back in disorder. The Greek-speaking parts of South Italy rebel almost at once.

785: Avidus begins to raid the western coasts of Italy twhile Charles continues his southern Advance. Charles pulls troops from Corsica, leaving the Spaniard soldiers in control and Avidus leads a small force onto Italy to join in.

Al-Hadi assumes the Caliphate.

786: Desidarius executed. Charles harrows southern Italy almost to the ground while the Spaniards hold down central Italy for him. The Lombard heir, Adelchis takes refuge in Byzantium and helps his niece Marozia keep Irene from taking total control. The Pope hails both Charles and Avidus as his rescuers. They agree to give the Pope the land around Rome. Lombard Italy is dead and Byzantium worries over the Franks.

Al-Hadi poisons his mother. Husayn ibn Ali ib Hasan declares himself Caliph and al-Hadi attacks him and defeats him. Idris ibn Abdullah flees west as al-Hadi begins a purge of all suspicious elements, including his younger brother.

787: On his 16th Birthday, Constantine VI takes the throne and promptly gets rid of his mother Irene who is sent to the convent as Sister Anna with help from Marozia and Adelchis. Instrumental in this, is Krum who is named to a high military position, disgruntling many. However he avenged Constantine V, was friends with Leo and worked tireless for Constantine VI including keeping the restless Serbians under control.

789: Krum convinces Constantine to invade the weakened Bulgars and the young general shows his mettle as he quickly secures the loyalty of the Bulgarians for the Empire and then leads both forces against the Avars under Constantine’s banner.

Idris ibn Abdullah arrives in Kairoun and is thrown out by the governor, Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab, appointed by al-Hadi. He keeps going west and arrives in the wilds of Algeria.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 05:10 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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Khan Krum founding an alt. Macedonian dynasty? I like it, I like it a lot. How about he conspires with Irene to overthrow her son, and then murders Irene to, before crowning himself as Emperor of the Romans in Constantinople. Would you like a map doing?

One query, do you have the Lombards expelling ALL East Roman garrisons from Italy. In the south of the peninsula, I think that's rather unlikely, after all, the Lombards never accomplished it in 500 years of fighting. These regions are still Greek speaking and culturally "Rhomanian" (the self descriptive term for the Byzantine Helleno-Romans). A Lombard invasion is likely to meet with severe problems, as the loyalty of the locals is projected towards Constantinople rather than what they see as barbarian kingdoms occupying rightful Roman lands to the north.

Otherwise excellent, do keep going!
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Old June 16th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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Recap

I like to give reasons for the butterflies, hence the posts above. For those who are intimidated by the length (and that includes me) here's the short version.
Next map will be for AD 801.

767: Spain colonizes N. Africa. Franks annihilated at Somport pass.

768: Death of Pepin. Aquitaine rebels.

769: Carloman dies in Aquitaine. Charles pacifies Acuitaine. Spain takes Tangier.

770: Saxon raids.

771: Charles m. Gerberga. Spain invades the Balearics. Lombards attack Byzantine Italy. Constantine VI born.

772: Lombards take all Italy but the Donation of Pepin. Charles reduces the Saxons. Saxons flee to England.

773: Frankish invasion of Zaragoza. Lombards attack Papal States

774: Spaniards invade Zaragoza. Fall of Ravenna. Fall of Rome. Avar-Bulgar war begins. Bulgar Kahn flees to Byzantium.

775: Fall of Zaragoza. Join administration set up. Byzantium invades the Serbia tribes. Caliph Al-Mahdi.

776: Invasion of Serbia continues. Lombards fortify the alps.

777:
Saxon-Wars. Luz (OTL Fez) founded.

780:
Byzantine Conquest of Serbia. Lombards cede Ravena to Byzantines for peace. Constantinve V killed, Krum begins rise in Byzantium. Mainland Saxons annihilated. Duchy of Saxony created.

781: Leo IV dies.

782:Franks and Spaniards invade Corsica and Sardinia. Franks invade Bavaria (Lombard ally).

782: Frankish Conquest of Bavaria and joint conquest of Corsica.

783: Franks invade Italy proper. Spaniard conquest of Sardinia. Greek parts of South Italy Rebel almost immediately.

785: Spaniard invasion of mainland Italy. Al-Hadi Caliph.

786: Desidarius executed. South Italian Greek rebels executed. Adelchis and Krum work together to check Irene of Athens. Al-Hadi poisons his mother, Idris I flees west.

787: Constantine VI crowned. Irene deposed with help from Krum and Adelchis.

789: Krum invades Bulgaria as a Byzantine General. Idris I arrives in western Algieria.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basileus Giorgios View Post
Khan Krum founding an alt. Macedonian dynasty? I like it, I like it a lot. How about he conspires with Irene to overthrow her son, and then murders Irene to, before crowning himself as Emperor of the Romans in Constantinople. Would you like a map doing?

One query, do you have the Lombards expelling ALL East Roman garrisons from Italy. In the south of the peninsula, I think that's rather unlikely, after all, the Lombards never accomplished it in 500 years of fighting. These regions are still Greek speaking and culturally "Rhomanian" (the self descriptive term for the Byzantine Helleno-Romans). A Lombard invasion is likely to meet with severe problems, as the loyalty of the locals is projected towards Constantinople rather than what they see as barbarian kingdoms occupying rightful Roman lands to the north.

Otherwise excellent, do keep going!
I'm conflicted on what Krum will do. By conquering his own people he's thrown in his lot with the Empire, but JJ Norwich has poisoned my mind against Irene (and I used to like her!) plus he's been using Constantine the VI and his Lombard wife Marozia to gain power for himself so why mess with a good thing? I'm not sure. ED: I figured out what happened, stay turned.

Anything you tell me about S. Italy at this time is pretty helpful but for now I'm operating under a few assumptions:
1) When the Byzzies (for they are Byzzies in my thread!) fled to Sicily they took some of the Southern Italians with them who did not want to stay.
2) Lombard armies are split between the Alps and S. Italy. There is little in between. They are helped enough in the North by Bavaria so that they can hold down S. Italy but it's not easy.
3) Spain was able to land armies on the western coasts because of the lack of Lombards (Spania lacks Frankish manpower reserves so is opportunist)
4) Ceding Ravenna to the Byzantines with Marozia was done because they were desperate, but it also means the Byzantines aren't fomenting rebellion in the south anymore (for a while).

But I will add in a little blurb that when Charles finally did attack, those regions rebelled almost immediately, but then got crushed AGAIN by the Franks who exercise more control over S. Italy (since their flanks are now guarded by Christian Spania instead of Muslim Al-Andalus). They are restless but hopeless now. This also makes the Byzantines hostile to the Franks and more friendly to Lombards (which is a big change of course).
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Old June 16th, 2009, 10:38 PM
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Sons, Chapter II

AD 790 April

Another warm day in the Maghreb
. Salamon glanced over at his father who was riding as well as ever, back straight even at his advanced age. He thought of his own son, Ramiro, already 5 years old, and his daughter Myassa newly born. Would he still cut as powerful a figure when he was 60 years old? Still his father's face was lined, his beard and hair white with flecks of gray all the black long gone. He resembled his father in facial features, but his coloring also brought to mind his mother with his light colored eyes and hair with hints of red.

The soldiers were clothed in a mixture of leather and loose cloth, finding a reasonable mixture between suffocation and protection. Lighter armor was a necessity some days unless you would be fighting a short time. Behind Salamon a camel made a noise like a murdered bagpipe and he shook his head. He hated the nasty things but most of the Berbers (he was a quarter Berber but never thought of it much) rode them and they were useful in longer forays to the south. He would go through those mountains and into the deserts beyond, extending the kingdom for his brother Peio, riding ahead. He didn't resent the lack, though he knew he would be far better than their brother Jon who had the mind of merchant but took little though for balancing the hopes and fears of the people. Happily it was not a choice between Jon and himself and Peio would do well enough with his help.

That night in the privacy of their tent their father spoke to them both, telling them in more detail than they'd heard before, of how he came to Spania, and how'd he'd forged a mighty kingdom. Unity, unit was the key. In a weak ruler division would shatter the realm, but even a strong ruler would find his strength taken up by revolt and his ambitious beyond that quelled. Salamon suspected his mother's influence there, she had often spoken to him, growing up, of the importance of building a shared situation, a shared identity. A part of that was religious tolerance. Not needed so much with the Franks in the north, or the Italians in the east, but crucial here. For as his father said, here the balance was equaled by Islam. Neither of them were Muslims of course, their father was not one either, though how much expediency played a part he did not know.

Still he was clearly preparing them for the day he would gone, and after his father had dismissed them Salamon spoke with his half-brother at length about it. Peio was a good natured man but not inclined to introspection though he could be surprisingly adept when the situation demanded and was so here. They decided the only road to expansion was tolerance. For now, if they showed themselves able to bring more prosperity to their subjects and if they did not persecute them for their religion they could be secure and the rest would follow as it had in the Maghreb these last 20 years and more.

In one respect only did Peio and Salamon differ: Peio believed they were expanding to fast, their hold tenous while Salamon was eager for them to grow. He was proud of Spania and knew it was the lesser rival with the Franks.

The next day they parted as Peio went east to Tlemcen, the newly taken town that was their extrene eastern border. Peio did not believe they had done enough to hold it yet and so had intended to devote himself to securing that part of the border for the year. Salamon and his father instead returned to Luz and after his father ordered assistance directed to his brother the Heir, he escorted his father north across the straight and they spent some time in Algeciras as his father made some small administrative changes in the south.

But it was only shortly after that as they were preparing to depart for Cordoba on the road to the capital, that the news caught up with them, brought by a small dhow crewed by a handful of terrified men.

When Salamon heard the message he knew why. A great army of Berbers and Arabs hard laid siege Tlemcen and the town was burning. May of the Spaniards were dead and Peio was falling back in a desperate holding action toward Luz. Before them all went an arab warlord arrived from the east with a story similar to his father's and a mighty sword, declaring himself independant from the weak and feckless Abbasids and calling on all true muslims to rally to his cause, the cause of Ali. His first act would be destroying the Spaniards in Ifriqiya.

Despite his advanced age, the king wasted no time in calling for his men to rush to the aid of his son and heir so that at the sunset of his life, the man who had been Abd ar-Rahman road to war against Idris ibn Abdallah, descendent of the Prophet.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 01:25 AM
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Sons, Chapter III

Maghnia was sacked, and Jerada, then Tayorit* and Taza. Idris drove all before him. Thousands of Christians and Sunni Muslims fled west ahead of him, hundreds took refuge in Luz. Hundreds because the rest were slaughtered as they ran. His coming had been like a sandstorm, fierce and enveloping and scouring those it caught to the bone. Peio had fallen back from Tlemcen, barely keeping a fighting retreat from becoming a route and at the dawn of the summer, Idris laid siege to Luz with Peio inside.

Beyond the Straight, the call went out but the king was delayed by the need to gather men and bad weather. Finally they crossed the water to North Africa with almost 7,000. Garrisons from Tangier and Fentiside** joined them, from other small towns and refugees, determined to end his bloody campaign. Many others fled back across the water to Spain where they strained Algeciras' coffers. From the Taifa of Lisbon came a stunning message. They could not, they said, in good conscience, march against a fellow Muslim. This as the king and Salamon knew, was a lie. They had fought the Abbasids readily enough and they were Sunni so even that excuse was denied them. Angered, the king sent orders that no more troops were to be sent south, but instead to be ranged on the border with the Taifa, to prevent the raiding he knew would follow.

They traveled south in grim silence, and Salamon knew his father was gathering his strength. He'd moved quickly these llast months but he could see the fatigue in his frame. Salamon had shouldered more the burden himself, as much as he could without comment, but his father still took more. He's built a kingdom out of nothing, Salamon thought. Father! I won't let you lose it! As they went skirmishes errupted with some of Idris' soldiers though they were able to beat them back with little trouble. Still, Idris knew they were coming and if Luz could hold out, Idris would be trapped between the city and the King.

But it didn't turn out that way for one hot day as they creasted a rize in the mountains columns of black smoke greeted them. Luz was burning. It had been through a small gate used for sorties that Idris entered, attacking it at the right moment and catching Peio's men unprotected. They'd already been weak from battle and hunger and in the end the city had been massacred and gutted. Idris it seemed, wanted to crush all resistance to his rule before it could begin. Fresh off the gutting of the city, Idris and his army continued their path west towards the coastal ports that had been established with such effort. But weighed down with the bounty of Luz, they were caught at what would become know as Las Armas, the Battle of Weapons, for its vicious brutality.

At the beginning of the battle, Idris himself rode forward and his personal guard lifted something on the head of a spear. The head of Peio.

Salamon vomited onto the ground but the King remained firm though his hand tighted on his sword. The battle raged all day. Idris' army was mighty and burned with the flame of success and purpose, the King of the Spaniards had an army that was worried and dishearted by the death of their crown prince. Founded after the defeat of the Abbasids, it was said that Spain was only truly born that day in the Maghreb for it was then to urge his men on that the king of the Spaniards first raised the cry: "For Spain!"

It was said that the only thing that drove the Spaniards forward that day was the King as he led his armies into battle from the front, the tip of the spear. Driving relentless for Idris, two men dedicated to annhilating the life of the other. The battle raged all day as the two armies hammered at each other. No finesse, no tricks, only power. Arrows and Javelins fell like rain, men and horses did the same. Time and time again the king was forced by his men to retire for a time to rest before rejoining the battle. Durings those times Salamon took the lead urging the men on and fighting hard on his own behalf. He would not be a storied warrior, but no one would ever find fault with him in battle.

In the end, Idris was forced back onto his camp by the more heavily armored Spanish. Tired though they were, beaten down by the blazing sun the King drove them forward and they fought for him who had given them prosperity and order. It was through one of those quirks of fate that ended the battle, for the King had finally reached Idris and his banner man, the one with the spear that held his sons head. He took it back but was wounded badly in the process. For a moment the Spanish line wavered but Salamon siezed the moment order the men forward to avenge the king and they surrounded Idris cutting him off so that his men fled in terror at the wrath of Spain.

As the sun set finally began Idris was made to kneel before the wounded king while the slaves Idris had captured including one oddly enough, tied with gold thread over his chains. That one, a man only a little younger than Salamon, marched forward and in a smooth motion pulled a sword from the sheath of guard and ran Idris through the throat. Shock ran through the assembled lords, tired as they were at what had gone by. The only sounded was the pathetic gurling rasp that Idris made as he slowly slumped to the ground. The man found himself the object of attention of the spear and swordsmen of Spain. Releasing the blade the man slowly raised his hands to show he held no weapon and did not move. The man faced him and met his eyes while debate played out on his features and ended with a bitter laugh.

"And who," the King said pausing to cough a gobbet of blood onto the rocks, "might you be that you take my vengeance from me? Killer of the Killer of my son."

"My name is Harun al-Rashid," Harun said.

--------------------------

Note: Idris comes off really REALLY badly in this, far worse than IOTL. He's not a psychotic monster but he barely escaped from the Abbasids and finds a powerful growing Christian state started by an Umayyad traitor. He is determined to found his own state and he knows that furious attack is the only way to kick the Spaniards off North Africa.

*Taourirt
**Ceuta
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Old June 18th, 2009, 04:08 PM
mrmandias mrmandias is offline
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I like this.

In OTL, the wealth of Al-Andalus came from the introduction of Arab/Islamic agricultural techniques and from trade with the Islamic world. Interesting to see how much that happens in TTL.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 11:54 PM
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Sons, Chapter IV

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmandias View Post
I like this.

In OTL, the wealth of Al-Andalus came from the introduction of Arab/Islamic agricultural techniques and from trade with the Islamic world. Interesting to see how much that happens in TTL.
This update deals with that some.

Harun al-Rashid's story struck a cord with the king. The Histories of the Kings of Spain puts it thus:

"When his brother the Caliph had poisoned their mother, Harun was left with few allies at court since Yahya of the Barmakids had been imprisoned. Harun had no choice but to flee and al-Hadi's son Jafar was proclaimed successor. He'd been helped in his flight by the governor of Alexandria who had Shi'ite leanings, to head west in hopes of rallying allies at the edge of the Empire in part Harun had added, due to the infamy of Abd ar-Rahman. But he'd run to far and too fast and Idris had captured him. Imprisoning him who had was the brother of the Caliph who'd defeated his own lord at Fakhkh that forced Idris to flee, he'd taken Harun on his campaign of conquest forcing him to watch and to make sure he could use him as a bargaining chip for al-Hadi's favor.

Harun spent much of that year with the wounded king as they slowly put plans in place to rebuild the shattered Mahgreb. What Harun thought of Abd ar-Rahman becoming a Christian king he kept to himself and wisely so considering his circumstances. After a time he left with many gifts and words exchanged between him and King Salamon, as was reported by Amir Peres of Oporto who was with the King at time to myself."

790: Wounded badly by Idris, the King of Spain, Abd ar-Rahman could not recover and died. He was burried in the ruins of Luz among the ashes of the city had built. But there, his son Salamon though not yet King had sworn to raise the most brilliant of cities on that field to mark his father's legacy.

The succession was between the King's son Jon (b. 765) and Salamon (b.758). While Peio had been loved by all, Jon was not and had spent most of his time in the north at Zaragoza while Salamon had helped his father all over the realm and had been close with his brother Peio. With noblemen from all over the realm present for the battle, it did not take long before they aclaimed him as King. Almost imediately, King Salamon sent messages of his ascension to the Emperor Leo IV and King Charles. He also reconfirmed his brother in Zaragoza.

For the next few years the western Mahgreb was quiet as Salamon rebuilt it doing his best to merge the culture of the Berbers with that of their northern overlords. But not all was so simple. Lisbon had refused to fight Idris and now it was Salamon's turn to show his mettle as he invaded the land in 792, determined to bring the last of the Taifas under the control of Spain. Located in less mountainous landscape than the eastern coast, the Taifa was conquered by 794. Many North Africans entered his service at that time for many of the most rebellious had been killed in the battle with Idris or had left with Harun to try their luck in lands more bathed in the words of the Prophet. For Salamon had indeed helped Harun and every so often word of the would-be Caliph trickled back to him. Ibrahem ibn Aghlab the governor inf Kairoun was killed and another man, Abu Ahmar replaced him at Harun's behest.

792: Governor of Egypt Rebels against al-Hadi proclaiming Harun al_Rashid Caliph and in response, al-Hadi is deposed by his son Jafar. Salamon invades Lisbon.

793: At the Second Battle of Karbala, Jafar is decisively beaten by Harun who assumes the Caliphate.

794: Salamon conquers Lisbon.

Upon the rise of Harun, the first message sent out to a non-Islamic ruler was to Salamon of Spain. In rememberance of their friendship and the aid given to him, Harun decreed that Spain would be as favored in the Caliphate as any Muslim nation and such was his power that any who grumbled were afraid to voice their thoughts aloud. And so Salamon began an extensive program of cultural and economic interaction, oceans of books were imported, and Spaniards would could speak Arabic were sent east to examine and learn about the culture and advancements of the Abbasids.

Due to his pedagree the King had long admired these things of the Arabs and took the chance to enrich his own land because of it. As the re-Christianization of the Mahgreb continued, faster now because many Muslims had been slain by Idris, a new culture was forming, a true fusion of Muslim and Christian that encompased all the disparate peoples of the Mahgreb and Spain and in after years this culture was known as that of the Mozarabs as Spain expanded and grew.

In the east Constantine VI whiled away his time in the Capital with his beautiful wife, while his mother stewed in a convent and Krum led the armies of Byzantium over the Danube and into the heart of what had once been Dacia and turned west onto the Pannonian Plains. His own people flocked to him when even the Avars were turned back by his sword under the Empire.

In the north, the close alliance with Spain led aspects of Mozarabic culture and learning to spread northwards. While some grumbled that this was really a Muslim invasion with a softer touch, supporters had only to point to Spain, a Spain that was clearly Christian but also clearly benefiting from the techniques brought back by King Salamon's observers.

In the west all was quiet, but the East now under Harun, and the Emperor, was about to intrude as rudely on the west as it had in generations....

Note: The Muqaddimah and Meadows of Gold were the main sources for this section.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 12:48 AM
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Sons Chapter V

799: Death of Constantine VI.

The Basileus, all sources were agreed, was too much into his liquor and it killed him. Owing toward his relation with the grapes, he had been able to have only minimal relations with his wife and as a result Marozia was left with a 2 year old daughter, Eudokia and nothing else. Almost instantly his mother's partisans brought back Sister Anna and while Krum was still at the front with the Avars, Irene was quickly gaining power but it was Marozia who suggested in a move out of desperation to gain favor with her angry mother-in-law that she name herself Emperor.

And so, in AD 800, she did.

Krum at the front, could do nothing as a new Avar assault kept his attention. In fact, it was left to one of his younger allies, Marinos, the Droungarios of the Vigla and a rather lower ranked noble, and master of the newly created Imperial Guard, even in the capital to try to keep things under control. He had been raised though by Krum who found it advantagous to him when more men who were outsiders either by blood or standing were promoted by the Emperor. Indebted to himself and the Basileus, they were more likely to remain loyal and as long as Krum kept an eye on then he made sure none of them usurped his place. But they were all able men, and now Marinos did what he could until Krum returned.

And return he would, for he had reached out to the Franks and Charles had answered. During the campaigning season of 800, the Avars were attacked in the east and the west and annihilated to the man. Charles added a small part of the territory to Bohemia, while the Empire took much of the east. The rest it was decided would be a buffer state between the realms, and thus was born the Princedom of Nitra, the epitomee of international diplomacy. It's ruler would be crowned by the Emperor, but chosen by the Franks. It's capital Nitra, a tiny no-account village until then, both Empires chose it because it was equidistant from their borders and the border with the wild tribes of the north.

That winter Krum rushed back to the capital determined to prevent Irene from unraveling everything he'd gained. Indeed, Harun al-Rashid had siezed the opportunity and launched a massive invasion of Anatolia as soon as he had got the new of Irene's acension. It was while the border crumbled and the political infighting in the capital reached new heights that the Pope acted.

Pope John VIII had spent his pontificate in a cage. It was a nice cage, well tended but a cage none the less. After the death of Pope Adrian he had long striven to assert himself against the Emperors and now at last came the chance. For Irene was no Emperor and the power, such as it was, devolved on him and he intended to use it... but all through the year 800 one question ate at him, he wanted to Crown and Emperor and he had to do it quickly, but of the candidates there were two, and he could not afford to slight either of them.

Charles was the obvious choice, his realm massive, his power great and his sword victorious. He had subdued the pagans and the Lombards and brought back civilization north of the Alps. But Salamon had also subdued the Lombards in part, moreover he belong to a Dynasty that had taken back more land from the Muslims than Charles could ever hope to. He was re-Christianizing North Africa and if he had to be honest, it looked like King Salamon was fast becoming as wealthy as Charles if not more so.

And so Pope John looked into his extensive library, a vast collection of religious books but also books of all kinds from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the latest treatises on Medicine from the Caliphate, and all, ALL donated by Salamon through his extensive trading links with the Caliph. How the man could be reclaiming lands for Christianity while still having good relations with the Caliph of Baghdad he could not fathom, but it was happening and it was in these histories, an old Roman history that had been traslated from Arabic that he hit on the solution. Messages were sent out and King Salamon and King Charles came Rome late in the year of 801.

In that old book on the Roman Republic, John had come across a unique situation, before the Emperors the people of Rome had named two men supreme so neither could fully usurp the power. That suited John well, because that way neither could truly contend with him. So there, on Christmas day of AD 801, three days before Krum forced Irene to name him Caeser, the world was changed as Pope John VIII placed a thin and well-crafted circlet on the heads of both men and named Charles and Salamon, Consuls of Rome.

Europe at the Dawn of the Consulate:
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Old June 19th, 2009, 09:18 AM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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Nice touch with the Counsels!
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Old June 19th, 2009, 05:22 PM
Azardin Azardin is offline
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This timeline is great! Excellent maps and a great volume of reading material, keep it up!
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Old June 19th, 2009, 07:17 PM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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This is a fantastic TL! I hope you keep it up, I really want to see what happens between Spania and the Franks, but especially between those two and Byzantium (considering the apparently good relations between Krum and Charles).
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Old June 19th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Sons Chapter VI

"Well at least there's only one Emperor," went the thinking in Constantinople.

In the Empire, the office of the Consulate was largely fictional. The rank had belonged to the emperor on ascension but it was the least and most forgettable of the titles. There had even been some desultory talk of abolishing the rank all together. So too, the title itself was different than what the Pope had proclaimed and no official Consul of Rome had been created for centuries. If anything, the Emperor was the Consul of Constantinople. All in all, it was a rather mild challenge to Imperial authority and Krum recognized it as such.

With his return to the capital in 801, Krum had gone to see the Basileus Irene. Imperious and a champion of iconography she was perhaps more favorably disposed towards the westerners than many of her subjects. It was in the conference with Krum with Marinos stationed outside to make sure they were not disturbed that a new policy was decided on. The details of how Krum convinced the Empress are unknown and perhaps better left so, but the results speak for themselves. Harun al-Rashid was rampaging through the Cappadocian and Anatolian Themes and fierce fighting had begun in the Armenian theme as Harun's army sought to protect their flank. His destination was clear and Krum would simply have to march east or fight him at the capital.

The solution of what action to take in the west came from the former empress. Placed under house arrest in a small but comfortable house outside the city, Marozia suggested that they send her uncle and his family back to Italy. The more they examined the idea, the more Krum and Irene liked it and so accordingly in 802 Adelchis and his son Alboin were sent in secret to Benevento with significant quantities of money and more than a few imperial agents. Meanwhile Krum gathered his forces and with Marinos to guard the western border he led them east to battle Harun.

In the west, Charles and Salamon had remained in Rome for some time, celebrating but also planning the future course of the continent. The exchange of ideas filtering out of their mutually governed area in Zaragoza was bearing fruit and combined with the contributions of the Irish monks in the north, the Frankish realm was experiencing a massive cultural revival. While many expected Charles to go further east he confided that he believed his current realm and its’ buffer were the practical limits of his empire for now. He had begun to centralize the government around himself, slowing siphoning power from the nobility and even his owns sons. He had toyed with the idea of naming them Kings but had in the end, decided not to after Salamon discussed with him the weakness that could result. It was a near thing and instead he had sent them to the northern parts of his empire.

For in the north, word had come of reavers from the sea, men with strong axes and swords and in ships that flashed up the coasts burning, pillaging and looting. Charles suspect they were allied with the Danes who it was said, were busily building a wall across their entire peninsula against him, rather Roman of them Salamon had observed.

As Charles and Salamon planned out the shape of the continent one thing however was clear, while Charles had establish good relations with Krum who they now heard was the Caeser of the Empire, the Greek precense in Italy was an artifact of a by gone era. Salamon was more openly hostile to the Greeks, having had more occasion to clash with them on the water and his realm was fast becoming a distinct rival for the produce of the east, going through Cordoba and Toledo through the Mediterranean rather than Constantinople. Once Salamon had completed his work in the Mahgreb and Charles had driven back these sea-going raiders, they would meet again to plan the assault on the Italian and Sicilian holdings of the Empire. Let the Emperor have the east, but they must have the west, all of it.

What their plans were however, would be lost forever. For as they prepared to depart in late in the year of 802 for home Charles was nearly struck by a poisoned arrow. The Pope was horrified, the Kings outraged and a search was mounted. The result was a dead man found in non-descript clothing found with a similar poison vial on him. An assassination and nothing else but. Salamon had gone to the older man to swear his help in rooting out these dissidents when the true scope of the problem had become clear.

For new had come of the one thing Caesars, Kings, Consuls and Caliphs all dreaded. Rebellion, massive rebellion, not only against Charles but Salamon as well. Large stretches of both Spania the Francia were now openly declaring allegiance to new masters, two men both knew intimately: Jon of Spania and Peppin the Frank. That very day Charles and Salamon swore undying loyalty to each other until this insurrection would be defeated and these two usurpers, a son and a brother, were broken. The Pope too pledged himself to support them unreserved unless they would attack each other as the defeat of his consuls would shatter his esteem so soon after they were proclaimed.

So as the two parties went their separate ways, Charles to the north and Salamon via ship to the west, there began the First War of the Consulate.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 10:12 PM
Azardin Azardin is offline
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Viva la Consulate! Or however one might phrase that.

Roman-related timelines post AD 476 are some of the most interesting ones, as the overall plot often brings about some measure of restoration of the empire (here it would seem that the Western Empire minus NA plus Germania might return in a new form or so), but with Medieval actors rebuilding the nostalgic 'Glory of Rome' instead of the last Romans trying desperately to salvage something of their empire.

Excellent work, MNPundit, I look forward to more!
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