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Old June 20th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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Consulate War, Chapter I

Recap Post

First War of the Consulate 802-812


The First War of the Consulate was a regional conflict fought in the early 9th century in Western Europe primarily on the soil of the Kingdom of the Franks and the Kindgom de Spania. At the same time it was taking place the Byzantine-Arab war of 800-808 occurred.

Participants

On one side were the Kingdoms de Spania and of Francia, on the other were the Peppinists (Occitan Rebel Franks) and Johannines (Spaniard Rebels) and the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. At various times the Ahmarid and Idrisid muslim states in North Africa were involved on varying sides. Denmark took part in the way in a very limited extent and Vikings raided all sides indiscriminately taking advantage of the use of military forces elsewhere than the coasts.

Causes:

After the foundation of Spania in 767 by Abd ar-Rahman (Avidus I) the kingdom conquered most of the peninsula and expanded into the Maghreb. While invasion of Idris I was a set back for the Kingdom, by the time of King Salamon’s reign, even more of the Maghreb was under Spanish control and the proportion of Muslim residents had dropped to some 35-44% of the total population. Extensive trade links with Harun al-Rashid resulted in a great deal of Arab customs, knowledge and techniques transmitted to Spania that was put to use and adapted by them. These changes also flowed through to the Frankish Kingdoms through the jointly-administered Zaragoza region.

That region was administered by the youngest son of Avidus, Jon, and Charles's discredited son Pepin the Hunchback (by his first "wife" put aside for Gerberga). Jon looked on in dismay at the Arabization of the Spaniard culture even without the religious elements. As his discontent grew he made common cause with the nobility of the old Asturian lands who had been with Avidus since the beginning and resented the centralization of power in the hands of the King and the cultural changes that were making more and more of their subjects troublesome to be ruled. It was now incumbent upon the Spanish lords to have an extensive education and strong literary skills and to many this was an annoying waste of time and incredibly played no small part in their discontent.

Pepin however, was good natured and he and Jon became quite close. Pepin was able to restrain Jon’s angry urges toward his brother Salamon but the Frankish nobles themselves were also discontented at Charles’ own rise to power and dominance. So too they saw the increasing centralization of the realm based on the principles passed on from Spain and saw their own power growing less. Many of the discontented lay in Aquitaine, a restive province as was most of the south due to the harsh measures used in subduing the region. Using Pepin as a figurehead they conspired against Charles and put their plan into motion when he absent while being crowned Consul. He would be assassinated along with his other sons, Martinus and Adalger, and the easily led Pepin would take the throne. Charles survived the assassination as did Martinus, and the rebels faced a choice between hanging or rebellion.

Salamon’s long absence from Spania proper had emboldened his brother and after speaking with the Frankish nobility both sides rose up at the same time, aiding each other against the monarchs. Much of old Asturias rallied to Jon, not a bastard child as Salamon was and not nearly so Arabized, a major rallying point (though even Jon had been influenced by the burgeoning Mozarabic culture). When Salamon and Charles learned of the rebellion they made haste to their own lands and swore an oath together to assist each other.

At the same time, the disturbances caused by Adelchis, Desidarius son, and his own son Alboin with Imperial assistance bore fruit. They had begun in Benevento and much of Lombard Italy had risen in revolt by the end of AD 802, eagerly taking advantage of the Frankish distraction. However no single person led the revolt, it was based on regional lords of the urban centers. Many however managed to send congratulations to Pepin and much of the rhetoric was couched in a pledge to the new King of the Franks to give themselves a whiff of legitimacy. Benevento alone declared independance openly allying themselves with Adelchis and recieving Imperial funding.

Spaniard Flag (first used by Salamon in the First War of the Consulate)
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Old June 20th, 2009, 04:36 PM
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Consulate War, Chapter II

The War in the Kingdom de Spania

Course of the War


In Spania the war was divided into three main phases: the Johnanin Offensive (802-804), the Royalist Advance (805-806) and the Idrisid Intervention (807-811). The following year the war was ended following a final major action, the Valencia-Aragon Campaign (812).

The Johannin Offensive

AD 802: Salamon’s ship lands on Sardinia where he calls for a muster to follow him before taking ship for the Maghreb. One of Salamon’s must trusted Captains, Carledo an Arab Christian, remains behind to gather the men of the Islands and he and Salamon agreed to meet at Valencia. Salamon continues on to the Maghreb where gathers the levies there and makes sure the country is loyal. At the end of the year his preparations are complete and he crosses the straight.

Meanwhile, Jon is striking south with as much force as he can bring to bear and flying the Flag of Asturias, determined to capture or destroy the great cities of Spania. After 35 years of sustained peace, improvements in agriculture and administration, the largest Spaniard cities to have 30-40k people, among them Toledo, Cordoba and Zaragoza and a system of several Spoke Towns* (Cuidades Radio) arranged in rough circle around them, support the larger urban centers. Thus they have become major points of control. There are also many more mid-size cities (10-30k, including Valencia, and Lisbon) and some small cities (5-10k including Oviedo, and Santander).**

Joining Jon are the leaders of the dissident nobility, Nuno of Oviedo, and Eder Abbaran (granson of Elipando) from the region of Navarre. Jon and Nuno overrun much of the Duerro river valley south all the way to the Sierra de Gredos. In the east Eder Abbaran takes charge of the fierce fighting around Zaragoza. Many Royalists are based in Valencia and Almanzan (south of Zaragoza) and are contesting the control of the jointly administered Zaragoza. Without major leadership however Eder Abbaran drives them back to Almanzan which he lays siege to.

The loyalists at this time are led by Amir Peres the lord of Porto and Lucas the governor of Lisbon. Early in the rebellion, Amir Peres sent Salamon’s family (Son: Ramiro 15, Wife Ellia 33, and daughter Elida 12) south from Toledo to Cordoba while he defends the capital. There was some fear he would defect but it proved baseless as his loyalty to the royal line is deep. Thus when Jon arrived at Toledo he was forced to lay siege to his desired capital.

Jon sends Nuno de Oviedo south and west leading a massive raid with the goal of sacking Cordoba. Several small skirmishes erupt in central west Spania against this force but at first none have the power to truly contest Nuno's advance and he moves south rapidly. Lucas of Lisbon however has managed to raise a large enough force that he begins hit and run attacks on Nuno's column before it crosses the Guadiana River slowing him considerably later in the year.

AD 803: As King Salamon crosses the straight and heads north gathering men from the southeast, Prince Ramiro leaves Cordoba with a small troop and joins Lucas on hit and run attacks on the large force under de Oviedo seeing his first military actions under the supervision of the older man. They manage to hold de Oviedo up in crossing the Guadiana but are eventually driven back over it. Near the town of Merida, they are joined by King Salamon with a vanguard force and bring Nuno to battle. While a tactical draw, Nuno falls back toward Duerro and the King reunites with his son and heir. It is also clear that the southern parts of Spania (that were the Muslim parts) have great loyalty to him.

In an effort to keep Ramiro safer, he sends him to Valencia to meet with Carledo when he lands while he and Lucas try to break the siege of Toledo. When he arrives at Valencia, Ramiro begins the process of learning to be a leader as he helps organize the city and takes charge of the scattered forces. Almost immediately the news as grim, Eder Abbaran has put Almanzan to the sword and has set his sights on Valencia. While Ramiro prepares for a siege, Carledo of Sardinia finally arrives with the men of the islands and they decide to advance and meet Eder en route to see if they can prevent a siege. They encounter Eder Abbaran at the small town of Albaraccin and are beaten, but thanks to Ramiro, this time they fall back in good order toward Valencia while Eder continues after them and lays siege to the city anyway.

At Toledo, the King's forces cannot dislodge his brother's troops but neither wish to risk an all out assault that could end the aspirations for either of them. It is hear that the King learns of the sources of rebellion, the resentment of the nobility, the distrust due to his favoring of Arabization and the prejudic against his bastardy. He also learns of the siege of Valencia. Needing something positive to salvage the situation a series of small vicious battles open up a corridor through to Toledo long enough for new forces and supplies to enter the city and to evacuate some of the civilians and the worst wounded. Then as Jon digs in and builds a fortified camp around Toledo and against Salamon's army, Salamon sends Lucas to relieve Valencia while he remains at Toledo with the bulk of the army. Nuno de Oviedo now returns. After retreating earlier he was delayed by responding to several Viking raids on the coastal towns and had to leave most of his forces there. He can and does however make hit and run attacks on the King's main force as the siege continues in misery for all concerned.

When Lucas of Lisbon arrives at Valencia he is able to break the siege and force Eder Abbaran back north towards the ruins of Almazan. Bringing orders from the king, Ramiro reluctantly returns to Cordoba to establish a regency for the rest of the country. Lucas then follows Eder Abbaran and tries to relieve the Siege of Toledo by threatening Zaragoza. Meanwhile Carledo is sent west to relieve the king at the Siege more directly.

AD 804: Eder Abbaran shows the sparks here that will mark him as a great captain as Lucas of Lisbon (a good commander himself) advances on Zaragoza. With a small force he manages to get Lucas to divide his army and defeats the smaller parties in detail in the mountains and hills en route to the approach to the city. As Lucas falls back he is pursued by a small force led by Eder that seems to be much larger than it is to buy time, while the main Johannin forces go to assist Jon at Toledo. He sets certain strategies into motion at Barcelona and several ships leave the ports on the eastern coast bound for Sardinia and Corsica.

At Toledo, Carledo has reached the king and is countering the hit and run tactics used by Nuno. When word reaches them that fresh forces are en route from Zaragoza, the siege heats up and Salamon storms Jon's lines in a massive assault. To assist this, Amir Peres opens the gates of Toledo and the besieged head out to decide teh conflict. But Jon is not a weak man, and uses the chance to get inside Toledo itself causing much damage to the city as across the suburbs of the capital, a messy, nasty urban battle is fought between them. Numerous fires are set in the capital as it becomes a confused mess. In the end, Amir Peres' forces kill Jon near the citadel at Toledo and the main rebel army is driven out of the burning capital. With their forces concentrated, Nuno is forced to retreat and his army is breaking up. They are saved once again by Eder Abbaran who after making sure that Lucas was well and truly retreating to Valencia has ridden almost alone to Toledo. Ralling the terrified rebels he turns and catches the King's forces focused on pursuit, inflicting a brutal defeat on King Salamon. Too weak to follow up, Eder and Nuno lead the rebels back north towards the mountains to plot their next move.

Salamon despite the defeat wishes to follow but is persuaded not to when Eder's earlier actions bear fruit. Corsica and Sardinia both rebel. The news roils the island levies and many of them revolt en masse and attempt to escape to the rebels. Salamon manages to catch them however and give them a choice, join him, go home or die. Unsurprisingly many opt to return home but more opt to remain with the king. The rest try foolishly to break out and are massacred in what is remembered as "the Cleansing."
To those who remained loyal to him the King swears to improve their situation and reward them for remaining loyal though he carefully does not promise he can restore them to their islands.

Returning exhausted to Toledo they find it as a guttered burned out ruin with many people dead of starvation and disease or wandering homeless in the rubble. Organizing his people as best he can, Salamon establishes a new camp at a site to the northeast of the capital very near the Manzanares River, and begins to construct a fortified position on the Majrit and makes this his principal place of operations for the time being as he plots to avenge his losses to the rebels.

In the west Nuno de Oviedo and Carledo (who is not native to Sardinia and Corsica and remains loyal to the king) continue to skirmish and raid for their respective causes as the year ends.

This ends the first phase of the war.
-----------------------------------------------

*If anyone is interested in the administrative institutions and organization of Spania I have a rather extensive document, but I can't imagine anyone caring but me.
**I created a list of cities and their sizes

KINGDOM OF SPANIA, 1 JANUARY, AD 805
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Old June 20th, 2009, 05:07 PM
Rakhasa Rakhasa is offline
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I knew Hispania and the Franks had too easy a time... That's what happens when you have too many royal brats around. Still, on the long term it probably is much better the occasional civil war then the madness of splitting your kingdom for your children (who will porbably end up in a war anyway as soon as you start ushing daisies)

P.D. Majrit is not a river, it is the name the muslims gave Madrid when they built the city (a city than has not been fouded in your TL, and probably won't now since Toledo has recovered its preeminence). Toledo is on the Tajo river (Tagus in latin), and it is on an easily defensible hill (abour 100 m high) over the river, so a new city would be bult theyre anyway
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Old June 21st, 2009, 06:02 PM
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Consulate War, Chapter III

The War in the Kingdom de Spania

The Royalist Advance

AD 805: With Eder Abbarran consolidating his forces near the Ebro, King Salamon makes the decision to take the war to the rebels. Things are not going well for Charles and an offensive would take some pressure of them as well as take advantage of the weakness of the late Jon's partisans. A few sharp blows and it may wrap up the enemy, but the question is how to do so.

The year begins with good news as early in it, Carledo the Arab kills Nuno de Oviedo at the Battle of Salamanca, the consequence of a large rebel raid that turned disasterous. It was said that Nuno was slain within sight of the city.

Hearing this news it is decided that they will attempt to fortify several points in the east and put their main effort in the west to reconquer Galicia and sweep east. While Carledo continues his efforts in and around Salamanca and Lucas of Lisbon and the King fortify the eastern approaches to Valencia and Toledo, Amir Peres is accordingly sent to his home city of Porto with a sizable contingent of troops to secure the city and launch the Galician campaign. After fortification has been completed in the east, they will launch diversionary strikes north across the Iberian mountains to force more rebel troops to be diverted to that theater.

To obtain the soldiers needed for these excursions, they count on Ramiro who is fast discovering a talent for organization that he first nurtured at Valencia two years ago and is able to furnish and reasonably equip a surprising number of men. Many of these are chosen for their experience in the mountainous warfare that will be required in taking Galicia, as Amir Peres is advancing right into the Cantabrian Mountains.

In the east, the King's forces can make little headway with their diversionary strikes as Eder Abbaran constantly harasses them with hit and run tactics to whittle them down so that any kind of decent attempt at seige will be futile. While most of these battles are relatively small, the Second Battle of Almanzan involves several thousand men. This costs the King many men while it requires relatively few for the rebels enabling Eder to shift more men to count the Galician invasion.

Throughout the year, the refugee camp on the Manzanares grows and the King moves his military camp back to Toledo which is more defensible than the spot between the rivers. Many of the citizens of Toledo leave to other cities but a few stay, helping rebuild the capital and establishing a small village on the banks of the Manzanares.

AD 806: Amir Peres has been forced to halt at a line roughly along the Rio Minyo* and cannot seem to make any further progress. Unsatisfied with the stalemate and his strategy the King plans an audacious gambit of using his navy to make an amphibious assault at the Lower Rias, the inlets and bays in Galicia and advance inland.

The assault is launched in beautiful weather as many ships leave Porto and land at the Ria de Muros and Noya, taking the rebels by surprise and striking inland up the Rio Tambre meeting light resistance after seizing the rebel fortifications at Negreira. Unable to secure the city so far from the loyalist lines, Carledo reduces it's fortifactions substantially, re-supplies his army and turns east and south trying to stay close to the coast until he reaches the objective of the campaign, Iria (Flavia)** and lays siege to the town hoping that Amir Peres will take the chance to advance north and meet him at the city.

But it is not to be, as the rebel forces holding back Amir Peres do not break despite his best efforts and Carledo is defeated in what the rebels call a miracle: In the city during the siege when it seems certain the town will fall, a young woman reportedly finds a relic in the woods near the town while trying to escape the siege--the body of James, Son of Zebedee. On the breastbone of the body a clamshell rests. The news runs through the city and hoisting the holy relics aloft, the besieged emerged from the town and caught Carledo's army by surprise, routing them in a brutal massacre as the army fled back to the ships or tried to head south to more friendly lands. Many were killed as they tried to cross the Mino in full sight of Amir Peres army. When he tried to rally his men, Carledo was killed. Legend attributes it to the girl who found the relics, one Zeitia, but while no evidence exist to prove such an outlandish story, the fact remains that the army landed by the ships was functionally obliterated.

His forces disheartened, Salamon strengths his lines in the west and looks again to the east to salvage some positives for the situation, and still his mind is focused on a naval invasion and on securing the loyalty of his island levies who had effectively no home and are getting a little restless. Ships are once again sent out toward the end of the year (for the navy had not lost any ships in the Galician campaign). These ships land on Corsica and sieze control of most of the island in a short vicious campaign finally bringing some relief.

Since the debacle at Iria, even the king's loyal men are beginning to wonder if God is against them or not, as they seem to fail again and again. Meanwhile Ramiro has finally come north after hearing of the disaster in Galicia with worried news of unrest in the south due to the results. The population is still loyal but nervous and any successes by the rebels maybe lead to a great deal of trouble. Without informing the king, Ramrio with Lucas of Lisbon launches a campaign concurrent with the Corsican expedition, this time towards Zaragoza, the newly declared rebel capital.

It is successful beyond belief as several towns are pillaged and their force reaches Zaragoza where they attack almost immediately and gain a foothold on the walls due to the speed of their advance. However news the Eder Abbaran is returning with most of his army forces them to decamp. Not before however, setting fire to many of the buildings and taking the remains of St. James that had been taken to the rebel capital, and returning back to Valencia in triumph.

The king understandably, is furious at this avoidance of his authority but publicly he acknowledge them positively for the sake of morale and to make sure it is not widely known that he had not approved their actions. In private he is furious and orders Lucas to over see the reconstruction of Toledo. He also admonishes his son severely reminding him that Zaragoza is one of the great cities, and that if they are going to rule, they need the Kingdom intact.

Still, he admits, he is proud of his son.

This ends this phase of the war.
-----------------------------------------------


*It's an enye sound, but I forgot the character code to make it, so it's spelled phonetically. In Portugese it's Minho.
**Compostela changed to Iria Flavia (Flavian Iria), appreciate to Dr. Strangelove and Rakhasa who have contributed to fact checking the TL thus far.

KINGDOM OF SPANIA, 1 JANUARY, AD 807
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Old June 21st, 2009, 08:15 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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I am enjoying this. Please can we have a map of Europe, or at least the Mediterranean basin? If you PM me a list of changes from OTL, I will make one for you.
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Old June 21st, 2009, 09:54 PM
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Consulate War, Interlude

INTERLUDE: A FATEFUL CONCORD, December 20, AD 806

Pamplona is a real city now, Eder Abbaran thought to himself as he looked out the windows of the fortress. The decades of peace between Spania and the Franks had made the fortress boom and while it was not in the league of the southern cities, it was the largest city until you reached the western sea near Compostela. Or, Santiago de Compostela since the discovery of the relics. That one rankled him, the princeling had negated a great many advantages by taking them back. He should never have moved them and could blame only himself.

His secretary entered the room unobstrusively as always. Pedro Discruia had caught his father's eye and it was only after ascending to his father's place that he'd realized the quiet humble man was actually a spymaster.

"Ready are they?" and Pedro simply nodded. Liberties were allowed with him in private. "I shall have to go and meet them then."

As he walked by Pedro slid him a parchment that was marked in a fashion that told him that the information was not absolutely secret but important none the less and he figured it was the analysis of his guests. He was right as he scanned the paper and internalizing it's details before sliding it back under his shirt.

A page announced him to the men waiting in the comfortably provisioned room and they rose to greet him. Raymond, Count of Gascony, and Hugh the Duke of Aquitaine. They looked more than a little out of sorts.

"Gentlemen," Eder said calmly. "I am glad we could meet today."

"Enough pleasantries," Raymond said brusquely, "We need--"

"--to talk," Hugh broke in firmly. Divisions among them, Raymond was clearly afraid.

"Then sit down," Eder said with a wave of his hand. "Are you emissaries from King Pepin?"

Hugh laughed.

"Of course," Eder said. Well he was dealing with the situation without a king at all, so he was not one to talk. "First let me say that I admire what you've done, so much of Francia rising in arms against the King. I never would have credited it. I would think that his son leading the rising has a lot to do with it, but I never credited Pepin as being particularly rebellious."

"He did not object to our plan," Hugh shrugged. "If only the attempt on his father's life had worked out as well."

"I hear certain parts of North Africa produce good men for that sort of thing," Eder said. "I'd not employ them myself you understand, Salamon has too many ties to the Muslims of the region for me to trust in them."

"It didn't seem to matter until now," Raymond said morosely. Eder didn't smell wine on the man's breath, perhaps he just had the subtely of an ox. Oh well, take the opening.

"So, it matters now."

"Poitiers is fallen," Hugh said with an annoyed glance at his compatriot. "Charles was merciless even in surrender though he claims he could not control his men. He threatens to cut the country in two."

"And so the way is open to you, and you have come to ask for my help?"

"Since the death of King Jon, you have stymied his brother at every turn."

"You give me too much credit," Eder demured and he meant it. Stymied? The stalemate on the Mino was crumbling the economy of the rebel lands rapidly and only the constant raids southward alleviated the worst of it. Moreover he had an army to either stop the counter raids to the east and west of the central range south the Duero, or to defend Zaragoza but he did not have enough of an army to do both and so was running east and west constantly. The thing could not last, would not last perhaps not even another year. And so, the meeting.

"Our proposal is simple," Raymond was saying. "King Jon and King Pepin were best of friends and would have supported each other but King Jon is gone and Charles and Salamon advance there is only one thing."

"You'd have me swear to King Pepin," Eder said. It was not a question. "You cannot be serious."

"Pepin is a nothing!" Raymond snapped. Hugh's face writhed in anger for a moment before controlling it. He needn't have bothered, it was clear they were as desperate as he was. "We control him."

"Do you? Why should I put my talents and resources at your service?"

"Because once we deal with Charles his realm will crumble. His other son has not got the strength to hold it together and then we can help you."

"And rid yourself of me?"

"No of course not. I.... have a different plan," Hugh said. "William has a different plan." William of Toulouse, the leader of the rebellion. "Our Lombard allies--"

"--have they chose a king yet? Old Adelchis perhaps? Or are they still eager to fight each other?"

"They have changed some in the last years. They hated the Frankish rule and have worked together far more often since then. Adelchis is important, but they are ruling... differently."

"Go on," Eder said.

"A senate, made up of the Dukes of the cities making decisions."

That was new. He hadn't heard that, it was true he was having trouble getting information. He'd have to set Pedro on that.

"And so you propose that for us? Foolishness."

"A deliberative body, we as the members, controlling the King. Each of us with a freer hand in our own domains but united against outsiders."

"And militarily? Who leads--more consuls as with Rome?" Still it was an interesting idea....

"Perhaps, but we must chose for success. We believe many will follow you."

Stunning. Military leader of a united rebellion? Madness but.... a seductive kind of madness. They talked long into the night and the more they talked the more Eder felt that seduction growing on him. In the end, though reality prevailed.

"I am pressed, sorely pressed now and I have no ships. But give me one, and let it sail from Narbonne to the south. If my plan works," he said, "The pressure on me will abate and I will swear to Pepin, myself and the others. Then I will go north and see what can be done."

It was not ideal, but it was the best that could be done. And so despite the time of year within days a ship set sail from Narbonne's port bound for a newly founded city of Dzayer, or as the Franks called it, Algiers.*

-----------------------------------------
*They actually called it Alger but dramatic license.

@BG: My next big update maps are set for AD 820, so I'll compile a list of changes set for that date. Future posts will detail the effects of the rebellion in the Adriatic, and Northern Europe. I'll be getting to the eastern med in a bit, remember right now Caesar Krum and Harun al-Rashid are going mano-a-mano somewhere around Iconium.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 12:39 AM
Rakhasa Rakhasa is offline
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I eagerly wait for the rest of Europe.

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Old June 23rd, 2009, 08:50 PM
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Consulate War, Interlude II the East

While the west descended into rebellion and warfare the east had no need to descend, it had already arrived.

After naming Krum Caesar she had left it to him to clean up the collapse of the Abbasid front. Still, he had many doubts about the Emperess who had only crowned him such because he threatened to retire to Sofia if she did not and there was no one else to take his place. Even after being crowned Caesar days after the proclamation of the Roman Consulate, he remained in the palace as more ominous news reached the capital of the oncoming Abbasid forces. Harun al-Rashid it seems, in an effort to secure his own position, had desired to unite his empire by declaring war on their old enemy. In part this was do to the increasing independance and alarmingly Shiite tendencies of his chosen vassals in Africa, the Ahmarids. In any case The vanguard of his army attacked the fortresses in the Taurus mountains. Many of these were in disrepair but the one in the geographic center, Caesarea, had been refurished in the reign of Constantine V and it was this stronghold that held up the Muslim advance like a cork in a bottle. That fortress was under the command of Romanus Maniakes one of the men Krum had raised and he performed superbly forcing Harun to spend untold sums of money and manpower in wearing down the citadel.

That time was necessary because it took until the end of 803 for Krum to fully de-fang Irene. He did it by securing the loyalty of her treasurer, Nikephoros, known informally as the Taxman's Taxman for his ruthless campaigns to halt obscene levels of corruption in the gathering of state revenues. As such he had a measure of popularity with the people and was able to strangle Irene through careful dispensation of money. When Krum left the capital early in the campaign season of 804 along with Isaac Cerularius the Strategos of theOptimatoi theme and angling to regain the reputation of his command, it was with his flank as secure as it could be.

By now of course the situation was catastrophic. Caeserea had at last fallen and of Romanus Maniakes there had been no word. The armies of the Caliph had pierced the frontier in several places, ravaging the interior more than the coast as they swarmed through the Anatolikon theme. Krum met them at Iconium, launching his own men, augmented by many fast moving horsed archers from the Pannonian vales. In the end though, Krum was driven back from the city with great loss and Harun sacked it, carrying of it's wealth and it's books while Krum frantically regrouped his men.

It was here that he forced himself to start thinking in more creative terms and began to use the terrain. Dividing his remaining units, they struck at Harun's flanks constantly irritating and demoralizing his army as they advanced through Anatolia and toward Amorium. He even managed to trap an advance party in a rock pass and annihlate it. All through the remained of the year he slowly retreated and spent the winter of 805 in Amorium itself supervising the defenses.

It was then that Romanus Maniakes appeared. His story that he'd been captured but escaped after converting to Islam was believed, but only just. He had performed well and for that service Krum placed him once again in command. While only leading a small force Romanus again performed well and it seemed almost miraculously, prevailing against heavy odds with few casualities he was instrumental in driving back Harun's main army back across the land past Iconium. Finally Harun made his stand on the flat sun-blasted lands to the east of the city sometime in 806.

In that battle, Romanus played a part as Krum had given him more troops than he had yet entrusted to him. At a key point in the battle when Krum was fully engaged by the Muslims, he called on Romanus who had charge of half the reserve force to come to his aid. But instead, Romanus claimed the emperor had fallen and began to flee with many of his troops with him.

But Krum was no fool. Even as his men began to be overwhelmed he had a huge flag unfurled the color of blood and many times the size of the largest flag on the field. That was the signal for the rest of the reserves to attack Romanus. Romanus you see, had been given troops that Krum had realized were either the most cowardly or the most prone to disobedience or most likely to abandon him to the Caliph. And now these troops were turned upon by their fellow, mostly men of the Opsikion and Optimation themes who had been hand picked for their own loyalty to the Caeser.

Thus where Harun's troops expected to easily overwhelm the Byzantines, they instead found a weakened but determined army that held together even as it retreated past Inconium for a second time. Romanus Maniakes was blinded with his hands and feet cut off and placed square in the path of the oncoming Caliph so his men could all see him die horribly.

Over the next two years the war flowed back and forth with neither side able to gain much ground. Krum's forces were slowly strengthened as he wore down and whittled away at the Caliph's own men and finally an uprising in distant Khorasn forced Harun to agree to the peace offered by Krum who was anxious about the west.

The terms of the treaty of Tarsus signed in 808 were not light. While all Byzantine land west and nort of the Taurus mountains were confirmed as theirs, Cyprus was the price Krum had to pay. He did not want to pay it, but he was anxious to return to the west and in return for an annual 'gift' as a recognition of his 'wisdom and benevolence' agreed to allow Krum to reinforce and rebuild the fortresses in the mountains. To salve the situation a bit Harun also allowed Byzantine ships to dock and trade feely at Tarsus, which he now controlled firmly.

Thus when Krum turned for home at last, he left the loyal Isaac in charge of the west and re-organized the situation to create one large border region he named the Taurian Theme and placed under the control of Isaac. It was then he could turn his attention to the west, and more importantly for him the strengthening of his 15 year old son, Aleksandar.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 09:34 PM
Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove is offline
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I am sorry to nitpick on this otherwise awesome TL, but the king cannot have lost the battle of Compostela because IOTL Compostela would not be founded until 820 -as a sanctuary-, would not become a city until well into the 10th century, and, like Madrid I don't think it will ever be founded in your TL due to butterflies. At the beginning of the 9th century, all there is in what is now Santiago's old town is a tiny hamlet and the ruins of a roman villa -in whose necropolis the apostle's body was supposedly found.

By this time, the main city in central Galicia was Iria Flavia next to the Ulla river -today known as Padrón-. It was a bishopric and the only city of some importance in the region. IOTL it would dwindle after the bishops moved to Santiago sometime at the end of the century, but, without Santiago, I think Iria Flavia could become a great city: it is very well situated in a natural route that crosses Galicia from north to south, and in medieval times the Ulla river was navigable until the city. Santiago has no natural resources or strategical situation that makes it a desirable place for a city: only the apostle's grave caused the build of a shrine that caused the building of a city when it became a cathedral.

I understand your confusion, because usually a cathedral is build in a city, not the other way around.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 01:21 AM
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Consulate War, Chapter IV

The War in the Kingdom of Francia

Part I


In the lands of the Franks, the war took on a different character than the rapid movement and skirmishes between sieges that characterized the Spaniards. The Frankish war beyond the sieges was based on slowly more ponderous pitched battles which meant the results of the battles tended to reverberate for longer than in Spain.

The first Martinus, elder son and Heir of Charles heard of the war was when Eric of Soissons died in Limoges. He’d gone there at the behest of Martinus to investigate rumors of a plot against Charles’ life. But the manner of his death as discovered later was so obviously foul play that it had galvanized the plotters to strike at Charles in Italy and use his absence to launch their rising, a rising shockingly based on his friendly brother Pepin. Martinus though he must be a puppet but it mattered little for things were grim: his father was far away, his brother was out securing the eastern marches, and their great ally, Spania could be no help for King Salamon’s treacherous brother Jon had also risen--in concert with Pepin.

To what he first though was a local rising, Martinus summoned the levies of Neustria to gather round his scara, first at Orleans but then Tours which he began to fortify at a furious clip. For Hugh of Aquitaine was leading an astonishingly large force of 12,000 rebels--a number even if exaggerated to be feared--north at a fearsome clip, they had taken Limoges by treachery and stormed Poitiers barely more than a fortnight. But then Hugh turned east toward Bourges, making good time and use of the drier marshes that Martinus and his family had worked so hard to turn into suitable farm land. In response Martinus divided his force and sent some to fortify the town of Blois under a certain Louis of Amiens.

Hugh did not attack because his job was to seize the lands to the north acting a giant screening force for William of Toulouse the rebel leader. William, who with Pepin had marched east, first to the small town of Lyon and then Geneva, gathering the rest of the south to him. They marched north and east of Geneva and set up their winter quarters in the sparsely populated remains of a fortified settlement through which flowed the River Aare.*

For Charles the year 802 was a nightmare. His life’s work had begun to crumble around him --and there were no ships that would take him, the Pope himself was seriously considering (it was said) throwing himself on the mercy of the Prince of Benevento--as he made his way north it became apparent that the entirety of Italy was in open revolt. The Frankish garrisons that had been in the towns were massacre or fled into the countryside where they ravaged as they tried to make their way home. But Charles though 60 was not done yet. As he kept going he began to gather the scattered bands. Rallying around their king with a fervor born of desperation and knowledge of his prowess they regrouped and began to angle north and west to escape into the mountains as the south of Francia it was said, was ranged against them. However their escape was not easy as it could have been.

Faroald the self-proclaimed Duke of Pavia had seen this small but disciplined Frankish army approaching and marched out arrogantly to deal with them, an effort of his scheme to make himself pre-eminent among the others and claim the kingship. But at the Battle of Pavia, Charles mastered Faroald, broke his army and forced the Duke to flee far from his own city to the ridicule no doubt of his subjects. He would have done more, perhaps reclaimed Pavia itself and set about stamping out the rebellious Italians but at that moment Duke Bernard of Milan was fast approaching, at first to join in the effort of wiping out Charles but now far more interested in seizing Pavia than killing the deposed (in his mind) Frankish king.

Charles fled through Alps which, while a September crossing was not as bad as one later in the winter, was no jaunt either. It was in the Alps where the locals continued to harass him, seeing only a tattered Frankish army badly mauled in defeating the Pavians and eager to take their revenge as the Franks were hated by many south of the mountains. Finding himself hard pressed, Charles turned north west to link up with his son Adalger, who had been named King of Bavaria after the final deposition of Tassilo III. Unfortunately for Charles that meeting never occurred.

A relative of Tassilo, Berchand, had deposed Adalger and named himself king, sadly killing Adalger in the process. That death truly was an accident, for Berchand had intended to use Adalger as a shield against the Franks lest they come for revenge. Now he had no choice but to launch the Bavarians west to try and meet the rebels and bloody the Frankish realm too badly for it to attack him.

When Charles heard of this it was said that he knelt weeping on his sword and torn his hair, beseeching God for forgiveness for his hubris in accepting the Consulate and beginning for punishment to absolve him. While the details of this story are clearly fiction, it does seem that something very like punishment followed for him. Returning to the east to escape the Bavarians his army was beaten just north of Chur by a force led by the Count of Constance. Charles himself was wounded and as winter began the injured weakened king managed to escape with only a few men remaining to Augsburg. It was there that the Bishop, Simpert, recognized his old friend and endeavored to hide him. Convalescing slowly, Charles also took ill from his wounds and spent much of the winter in weakness and misery.

As soon as the snows melted enough to march, William was on the move. Surprisingly, so was Martinus. With the news of his father’s disappearance and his brother’s death he had re-assessed the situation and struck out for Aachen to reach it before Pepin and there be crowned King of the Franks. He left Count Louis behind but not with many men, for he Hugh had failed. While seizing much of the lands the previous year Hugh had instead settled down to impose his rule more thoroughly by looting and oppressing the population and not caring as much for the larger war. Thus instead of keeping Martinus busy he allowed the bulk of the loyal Franks to move west to intercept William.

While Martinus however, believed William and Pepin were heading for Aachen, they were in actually heading for an even more familiar home for the family, Metz. It was only when William had laid siege to the place though that it became clear to him. Eschewing Aachen and with as many men as he could muster he turned south to rescue the city even as reports of a unified Lombard army was marching north to assist William in putting paid to their enemies the Franks.

When reports of Martinus’ approach reached William, he abandoned the siege and moved south to join with his Lombard allies who reached the field two days before Martinus.

The wisdom of Martinus’ attack has been debated. Hindsight indicates a high risk, but the Lombards had been crushed a scant 20 years before, and Martinus did not know for sure if they had arrived. So too he had to relieve the city of it would no doubt surrender to the rebels--and he was the last Rightful Heir, if he fled would not the Kingdom fall apart behind him, losing faith?

And so the Battle of Metz began.

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

*Bern

A/N: I have re-written the Frankish part of the war 4 times. I am simply not satisfied with it, so I apologize for any blatant screw ups. Part II should follow tomorrow to bring us up to speed to the point where Eder Abarran meets with Hugh and Raymond.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 09:49 PM
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Consulate War, Chapter V

The War in the Kingdom of Francia

Part II

As the spearman tramped past him, they were without fail coated in dirt and blood. They had taken some heavy losses there, it might take some time to replenish them but they would be restored in time. At least they’d saved most of the archers and kept their order. However it was still small consolation to Martinus his army fell back to Aachen that it wouldn’t be massacred.

________________________________________


Metz capitulated after the battle and the rebels were relatively disciplined, with looting but very little violence. The battle had been hard for both sides and the lord of Toulouse realized that his soldiers would have to rest and regroup in the city for a time before resuming the push to the capital but it was still a crushing defeat for the loyalist forces.

For the rest of 803 the rebels remained in the south consolidating their position, though a push toward Frankfurt was repulsed and William was forced to watch for any thrust from the east. Instead during the time off he turned his wrath on Hugh, wintering at Bourges for letting the loyalist army past him and not taking advantage of the situation while he could. Hugh countered by pointing out that Neustria was still well defended against him and that a defeat there would compromise the rebels’ flank on the way to Aachen.

But Charles himself was not idle. After recovering in Augsberg he made declared himself openly at Fulda, the settlement he’d based his campaigns against the Saxons against. While not announcing himself by sending messengers, he chose a different path and with all the men he could quickly gathered marched south and struck at Berchand the new King of Bavaria only weeks after the battle of Metz. Starting at the small village of Forchheim, he drove the advancing Bavarians back through the summer, and even defended several incursions by the local Lombards from the south. It was this prowess convinced the Franks that it was indeed him. The news shook the Frankish Empire which due to his disappearance had considered him dead and Martinus for one breathed a sign of relief. When he returned Aachen late in the year his elder son fell to his knees before his father who placed his hand on his shoulder and raised him up. His son had done all that he could and if it had proved worse than was hoped for well, it was better than he feared.

The north had remained solidly in his grasp, the rebels having taken almost all the land they easily good. From that point onward the land would have to be fought for and conquered, not simply occupied. Both sides knew it and by the summer of 804 they showed it. All through the winter more and more rebel troops had been sent west. The rebels despite being in a strong position were terrified, Charles was alive, alive and had already done severe damage to their Bavarian allies as well as repulsing the Lombard raids. The main Lombard force under Duke Bernard of Milan however, the force that had assisted in the battle of Metz, had returned. Gone home for the year the Duke, now pre-eminent among the cities of northern Italy was inching closer and closer to Kingship and as such wanted this united adventure in foreign policy to be attributed to him.

And so soon after the snows melted Hugh, Bernard met each other at Dijon, or as the more antiquarian called it, Divio. The city had languished for a time but was growing rapidly again and it was barely large enough now to house (that is supply for a short time) their forces. William marched west from Metz and where their forces met it produced the largest rebel army yet constituted and one of the largest armies anywhere in the region in generations. Over 25,000 fighting men with an even larger number of camp followers dwarfed the population of Dijon and bested the large cities in Spain.

When the rebels began moving north again it was one purpose, cut the King’s lands in half and take the capital that year. But Charles moved to deny them, having raised more than 20,000 men himself, using the military organization that he so carefully built up over the decades of his full to flood his army with competent men most who were well armed and a surprising amount who were armored.

5 men, to fully equip one fighting on the other side of the realm, 3 to fully equip one in a neighboring province and in defense of the homeland, all regardless of equipment. The rebels had resented this imposition of royal authority, especially because equipment requirements also applied to them as well, every single one of them was expected to show up on campaign with the latest arms and armor and while that was important for prestige it was also damned expensive. Each of the nobles also had to provide at 5 mounts (though only 1 for battle). The southerners had done their best to avoid these expensive requirements and as such the army they took the field against Charles was less well equipped.

The battle was fought in the beautiful farmland to the southeast of Rheims and while reports that it last 7 days were quickly discounted it certainly lasted more than one. Records are sketchy on the specifics but the battle likely took 2-3 days and at the end of it, proved a decisive victory for Charles. The rebel army was badly mauled and only escaped annihilation due to the bravery of William himself who held the vanguard together while the rest of the army melted away. William was thought captured for a time but reappeared in Dijon a short while later, too soon before the rebellion to waiver without him. The Lombard contingent had also suffered particularly hard and Duke Bernard quit the field soon after returning his men back to Italy where he faced several uprising by the cities of the north, his dream of kingship a dream deferred for now.

As Charles and his army continued advancing south he struck at several places along the front with the rebels focusing at first on the east and driving the rebels out of much of his lands until they took refuge in the Alps where they managed to halt his advance with the help from the terrain and the Lombard rulers of northwestern Italy, terrified one and all lest Charles continue right down after them through the Alps.

The following year Charles moved his armies west, while leaving Martinus to deal with situation in the east. It was a holding action as this year he intended to take the rebel strongholds and this time, stamp out rebellion forever. While he could keep over 10,000 men supplied through the winter with some hardship, he needed to wait for the campaign season for their would be sieges aplenty in the west and Charles was merciless.

That year Dijon was sacked, small but strategic Besancon stormed quickly, Nevers was set ablaze though accidentally and in order to appease the wrath of the Bishop and get his support he made of it a county, with the Bishop as it’s lord. He also promised to try and get the pope to make him an arch bishop but that would come later. That year and through the winter, while William struggled to keep order in the east, the action was dominated by the siege of Bourges, ringed about with Charles army and held by a strong force of the rebels under a lord named Robert who had rebuilt the city of Avignon and was one of the best of the rebel commanders at siege warefare. He showed it too, as he kept Charles bottled up through the winter of 805 forcing Charles nearly to breaking to keep his massive army around the city.

But early in that year Robert took ill and died and without him Charles was able to sap the city walls and stormed in, and once again gave his men free reign to loot their traitorous countrymen. It was only then he moved on to Poitiers the gateway to the original homelands of the rebellion. The siege of Poitiers was not as long as Bourges, and it contained no relieving battles as at Metz, but it was unique in its own way. For Charles had managed to damage a section of the wall with his siege engines and using reinforced mantlets to enable his archers to suppress the defenders built a tremendous ramp with incredible speed up the wall. Marching right up the ramp his men poured into Poitiers and when it was over it was said, within the wall no stone lay atop the other save for the church and the corpses were piled as high as the eves of the houses.

By now William had managed to stabilize the east, but in the west things were coming apart as the King showed once again why he could deserve the posthumous title of the Great. And it was as William moved to confront Charles who even now was readying his men for another push south into Aquitaine the coming year, that Hugh and Raymond were sent south to see if the Spaniards could help them….

________________________________________

A/N: Whew! Done with the Franks and Charles on a rampage. Again, the Frankish section was very difficult for me to write even if most of their cities have English websites with some of their history!

Thanks again to Dr. Strangelove and Rakhasa for their corrections previously.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 11:13 PM
Hashasheen Hashasheen is offline
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@ MNPundit: I've been reading this thread for a while (and unable to respond due to kickage) and I like the basic idea and how you turned it out. I especially loved the Consuls of Rome bit, and I'd like to ask permission to possibly use the basic idea of it in the future.
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Old June 26th, 2009, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hashasheen View Post
@ MNPundit: I've been reading this thread for a while (and unable to respond due to kickage) and I like the basic idea and how you turned it out. I especially loved the Consuls of Rome bit, and I'd like to ask permission to possibly use the basic idea of it in the future.
Sure go ahead. If anyone asks you can tell them I inspired you but otherwise I'll just look forward to where a more experienced AH writer goes with it.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 02:45 AM
rcduggan rcduggan is offline
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One suggestion: some sort of Dramatis personæ of Frankish royalty, just to help me wrap my head around this. There are just so many people - most not from OTL, and it just is a little confusing while reading the segments about Francia. They are very well researched though - sounds like it could come from OTL.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Consulate War, Chapter VI

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcduggan View Post
One suggestion: some sort of Dramatis personæ of Frankish royalty, just to help me wrap my head around this. There are just so many people - most not from OTL, and it just is a little confusing while reading the segments about Francia. They are very well researched though - sounds like it could come from OTL.
That is a good point. Future Frankish writings will remedy this. Also, thanks for the answer to my question, I'm checking out those titles.

The War in the Kingdom de Spania

When Idris I had stormed into the Spaniard Maghreb he had carried all before him until the battle that ended in his death. But his raiders had gone far afield bringing captives and securing information and allegiances in preparation to found his own state. As part of that he received a young woman known as Kenza, whether as a hostage or as a captive is unknown and her son, born months after the death of his father she also named Idris.

Idris II was an intelligent innovative young man from an early age, evidencing a surprising mastery of the Koran and of learning in general, which he did despite his origins. When Abd ar-Rahman who was the King of Spania crushed the invasion of his lands, the power Idris I had gathered sunk into chaos. But during the First War of the Consulate he had grown to manhood and forged a state out of the bickering minor lordships. Their first test had been against that Ahmarids to the east but after securing a truce with them, Idris had settled down to strengthen his state and build the strong foundations that would be his legacy starting in his capital, the newly founded White City of Algiers.

But then in early 807 came a message from the rebel leader Eder Abbaran and a chance at history.

Idrisid Intervention

Unlike his father, Idris II moved more deliberately, he wanted intact cities and infrastructure to rule over, not rubble. But he was not slow either, and from his bases in Tiaret whose rule he had gained through marriage, he launched a three-pronged campaign into the Spaniard Maghreb iin AD 807.
The Maghreb itself was a very different place than what his father had encountered. Having grown in the chaos that followed the first invasion, King Salamon had expanded his rule both east and west, devoting most of his resources to securing and establishing both a Christian infrastructure and reliable agriculture using techniques modified from those developed farther east in the Caliphate, another advantage of his closer ties with Harun al-Rashid. However despite these advances the largest of the settlements past Luz were on the coasts.

The northern forces under his command immediately laid siege to the greatest of the Spaniard's fortifications along the coast, the fortress of Precipicio (Precipice, so named due to it's position in regards to the Islamic lands to the east). The southern, marched along the Spaniard's border securing as many tribesmen as could be found and raiding farther east, this was the smallest force.

In the center, Idris II himself advanced, where he attacked Tlemcen and conquered it, then moved on to Tafna which he captured by the April of 807. By this time word of the assault had reached both Salamon in Toledo and Ramiro in Cordoba. The response was all that Eder Abbaran had hoped. Lucas of Lisbon was sent with as large a force as could possibly be spared and offensive operations were immediately curtailed against the rebels. Salamon could not afford to lose the Mahgreb, not after lavishing so much time and money on it, not when the Mahgreb had produced the core of loyal men he was fighting with. But gathering an army and transporting them takes time.

The defense of the Maghreb therefore had fallen to the governor of Luz, Alfonso Maura, and his somewhat bookish son, Garcia. Governor Maura in a fit of arrogance, or perhaps in recognition for his efforst in the Maghreb had recieved managed to get a town named after him. Located in the plain between Tafna and Taza* (Taza itself rebuilt on a Roman ruin), Maura's lifeblood was the Muluya River, and it was the center for the Spaniard's experimentation and testing of irrigation practices. Thus Governor Maura could not let it fall, and along with his Muslim allies from Sijilmasa** they advanced to blunt Idris II's central thrust.

They thought to take advantage of the mountainout terrain to the east to enable their smaller force to take on the invaders, but Idris proved the wiser and was able to better use the terrain to his advantage. While the land prevented a battle of annihilation, through skirmishes and small fights Governor Maura was drive back into the town named after him and there, at the end of the summer of 807, his army was slaughtered.

With Maura fallen to him, Idris II was in a position to strike deep into the heart of the Spaniard Maghreb, owned by them for over two generations and with a culture becoming distinct from that further east. But it was here he made a mistake.

Idris sent men to strengthen the southern thrust of his army so it would attack Sijilmasa in retaliation in no small part for attacking him despite their shared religion. While the lands of city were ravaged it meant that when Idris moved on Taza, he was unable to storm it and had to lay an incomplete siege to the city, a siege that was ongoing when Lucas of Lisbon's army arrived to offer him battle at the end of the year....

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

*Location of present day Guercif
**Near present day Rissani, Morocco

THE WESTERN MAGHREB, C. 806 AD
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Old June 30th, 2009, 12:58 AM
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Consulate War, Chapter VII

Idrisid Intervention (Part 2)

"I trust you're not disappointed over being passed over," Lucas said without any real show of sympathy as they walked along.

"No my lord," Garcia Maura answered quickly. On the whole of things he wasn't really. Luz was a wonderful city, a jewel, but he had no desire to be bogged down in things like judging disputes over who owned what camel. "I can exercise my talents elsewhere."

"Hmm, yes," Lucas nodded. "It seems you had a hand in the irrigation that revitalized Sela a few years ago. I hear there are almost 3,000 there now."

"You are too king Lord Lucas," Garcia replied not on the whole, modestly.

"Well be that as it may, you have certainly done wonders with Taza. We are well supplied and it can support a large garrison. It will make an excellent base."
____________________

Garcia and Lucas were silent as they climbed the many steps to the walls on the eastern side of the city. Built along one side of the Abiod river, if the Atlas Mountains were a bottle, Taza was the stopper, a gateway from the drier deserts to the east into the more fertile lands along the coast and it was here that the Spaniards intended to stop Idris. He was still out there, but when Lucas had come up with the main Spaniard army, Idris had lifted the siege. Now scouting reports had him conducting raids along the frontier but unfortunately for him, the terrain was harsh enough to make his raids generate little profit for himself, or for the Spaniards in halting them.

And so Garcia and Lucas waited. They had depleted some of Lucas original army and sent them to bolster the coastal cities of Melilla, Mersa and Precipicio. Still the King was counting on the navy to keep those cities alive and so far they had done so, with the land routes into Melilla and to some extent Mersa a supplement, a weclome one, but not the central route. But as the days wore on and it became clear that the main force of the Idrisids would not be directed at Taza for the time being, Lucas began sending messengers and scouts north, as many as could be found, and began to prepare his men to move out.

The word finally came in the most brutal part of the summer: Idris had been repulsed at Melilla and was now taking most of his army south to Sijilmasa to subjugate Spania's Islamic allies. By the time the plea for help from Sijilmasa arrived, Lucas was already many days gone, taking those most accustomed to and equiped for the desert, a much lighter force than would be perhaps expected and with most of the Spaniard Camelry* and headed south as fast as he could safely go and leaving Garcia behind to recieve the reports.

Frustrated, he never the less continued to fortify the city and in this he had the help of several refugees from the Ahmarid realm, chased out by the Idris conquests in the east. One of these men, Karim ibn Abdullah ibn Mohammed, even helped establish something rather new to Garcia, a waterwheel. Not tremendously useful when the river was at it's ebb, but he had contrived to link it to a bellows vastly improving the ability of the defenders to repair and replace weapons. There was also talk of a damn but Garcia had vetoed that idea immedaitely. Not out of hand, but it was just not possible in war time. He had also shown him some writings on an improved Windmill of which only the very basics were currently in use.

All through the year as Garcia administered the southern Maghreb he recieved reports from the situation. Francia was in turmoil as Charles was advancing south against the rebels but the his son was losing ground in the east to the Lombards. There were also disturbing reports of Lombard ships beginning to attack the Spanian navy though as of yet these were minor annoyances. There was also some sort of military activity near Sicily but just what was un-clear. Garcia found himself the central point of communication between the north and the south and he sent many letters to Prince Ramiro at Cordoba to pass on to his father in the north. Sometimes Ramiro wrote back and Garcia found himself rather liking the quick-witted if hot-blooded heir and at only a few years old there was much they had in common.

From the south though, came more urgent news. While the sieges of Mersa and Precipicio continued Lucas and Idris II continued to clash in and around Sijilmasa. No decisive battles were fought but both sides skirmished constantly trying to probe for a weakness in their quest to control the outcome of the disputed city. In fact it achieved a kind of monotony that would have driven Garcia quite mad with it's limits if he had not been able to divert himself with the engineering ideas of Karim and his fellows (of whom he had now set up an unofficial lecture series in a roofed-over part of one of the town squares) and a very engaging Berber girl with the darkest eyes....

But even Garcia could not ignore the truth. Despite his distaste for administration he found himself capable of it, and his skill told him that the war in the south was draining the Spaniard coffers badly and that this was effecting the situation in the north. Yet the rebels did not attack and he could not figure out why until a very short note arrived from Ramiro. It read simply:
To Garcia, my friend
It grieves me to say this to you but as you are administering the territory for my family it falls to you to know this....
...and here, Garcia's stomach began to feel strangely fluttering. He stopped and looked at the letter. It was on paper. Paper. Imported at stupendous cost from Baghdad though most though it a ridiculous luxury for Ramiro to indulge in and he only used it for extremely important correspondence. But the seal was that of the Heir, not the King. Garcia read on.
....We must resolve to crush the rebellion against my father utterly and totally as punishment for the sin they have committed. For it has come to me through my father that there has been a battle and King Charles, the Consul of Rome, and annointed of the Pope, is dead.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:18 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Consulate War, Interlude II

A/N: A new POV character we can follow in France debuts.
INTERLUDE: AFTER CHARLEMAGNE, OCTOBER 27, AD 808

Aldric felt a gentle hand squeeze his
in the bed. He’d stayed as quiet as possible since waking up but he hadn’t been able to fool his wife.

“Is it time?” she asked in a whisper.

“Soon. King Martinus will expect me to join them before they reach Orleans,” he answered in a similar tone. It was dark enough out they were reluctant to break the stillness of the pre-dawn hours. He turned his head fractionally and in the growing light saw the glints of his wife’s bright honey blond hair. He slid an arm around her carefully, for she was a few months along and let it rest in a comfortable position.

“I wish you didn’t have to go,” Gisella murmured in his ear sliding a little closer to him.

“I do too,” was all he said.

________________________________

They hadn’t known each other well before their marriage but they’d not only gotten along with each other and worked well together and so she helped him arm himself that morning examining him with a critical eye and pausing to burnish a part of his armor that already shone before kissing him goodbye.

Aldric could still faintly feel the kiss several hours later while riding in the funeral procession, a part of the honor guard arrayed around the sarcophagus of the late King. King Martinus had wanted those nobles personally sworn to him to accompany him as well as the more powerful men sworn to the Frankish realm and throne in general. The sarcophagus was closed of necessity as Charles had first been buried at Tours but exhumed when time permitted King Martinus to return to the capital.

The King had not died in battle and Aldric wondered if that was a more fitting end for him. Martinus had the title now though it had not been confirmed, the pontiff being a guest of the Lombard princes. Aldric had spent most of the rebellion fighting the Lombards, a thankless job as it entailed a frustrating amount of mountain warfare, harder and more dangerous work for less reward than anything he’d ever done before he knew, and he’d done a lot in his 28 years.

Before the rebellion he’d been on the far reaches of the Frankish realm. He’d known Brettons, Sorbs, and the pesky Avars. But for his money the worst were the Danes. They feared the Franks but that fear drove them into building the great stronghold of Murenborg* at the bend in the Elbe where the river narrowed enough to cross and the stunning Danvirke to the north. They didn’t attack often, but when cornered they flew into a terrifying rage and he’d seen them shrug off blows that would down any other man. Thank God in Heaven there weren’t that many of them, though enough rogues to make the northern coasts a nightmare. Still their new king Ogier was rapidly expanding his authority and had been able to tamp down the worst of the unauthorized raiding. Aldric would wager that the threat of Frankish reprisal was brandished often by Ogier to secure his power. After the rebellion began, he'd heard that King Ogier had managed to direct more of his unruly subjects ire toward lands east of them.

Being away from his young wife due to the rebellion, Aldric had enjoyed the time at one of his minor holdings in the south before called again to battle. With the defeats in Gascony and Aquitaine it would be a defensive struggle in the west for some time to come that would suck up men and resources like a sponge. Not being present at those losses, he could only hear the rumors that the rebel Spaniards had pledged to the King’s half brother and that it was one of these that had masterminded the assaults that had cost them so dear.

He also had to be honest, King Martinus's rule was not nearly as secure as his father's. The military losses had seen to that, but for now there was loyalty enough and it was without undue worry that he was summed to the King’s chamber shortly after the funeral procession arrived in Orleans. He was surprised that the King was not alone, several of the higher ranked or more senior nobles were also there, including their newly raised host.

“My king,” he said bowing carefully after he was announced. His family did after all owe their own county to the Carolingians of which this man was currently the last of age.

“Well come Beauvais,” King Martinus said waving him forward. “Thank you for answering my summons so promptly. Tell me now, look down and tell me what you think of our situation.”

“Uh my king….” Aldric hesitated not wanting to say something that would be against the new King but knowing he had to say something and he studied the map. But why did the king ask him? Still... the territory held by each side, and the forces at their disposal on little strips of parchment scattered around the map. “It seems to me that neither side has gained a decisive advantage. I can only presume that the losses of the last year have made it so and we need time to build up our strength again. We are stronger than the rebels but that will only show up over time and it’s time we need to by my lord.”

“I see it the same. What would you propose we do about it?

He didn’t want to say it but he had to. “Raid my lord. Mounted men to strike through the countryside to take villages and towns, to take the livestock and crops of the peasants to disrupt the rebels war-making ability.” Economics, if they couldn‘t eat or get new soldiers or pay the ones they had they would break. War was costly enough without focusing destruction explicitly on the economic base of the combatants and it thoroughly ruined the lands before you conquered them making the booty substandard. Thus it was not to be engaged in lightly. Gisella would have laughed at him to hear him say it, but he had imported books from Spania to learn about these things in part to impress her. It had worked though.

The King paused for a moment. “I have been in the habit of treating the populace as if they were errant children that needed to be disciplined but not unduly harmed. But they are proving themselves to be quite hostile and so a harsher hand is needed. I also believe in placing a man in a position to fulfill their words….” And as Aldric looked up the King smiled a little sourly so he knew what would be coming next and so was rather taciturn about it when he found himself on the road to Poitiers the next morning.

*OTL Hamburg
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:51 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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I'm still enjoying it. But again, I shall plead for a map of Europe...
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Old June 30th, 2009, 05:09 PM
The Professor The Professor is offline
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I'm still enjoying it. But again, I shall plead for a map of Europe...
Seconded!...
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Old June 30th, 2009, 07:21 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Alright already! Geez, couldn't wait until 820 could yah?

ROUGH MAP OF EUROPE, AD 808
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