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  #121  
Old August 18th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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3rd Idrisid War, Part I

Alfonso II had not planned on a war against Ali Abdullah when he had invaded Sijilmasa for his son, but that did not prevent him from being able to launch one now that war had come. After Ali's retreat, Alfonso returned to Sijilmasa where he left the reliable Ordoño Nájera behind to extend his control of the surrounding area for the purposes of defense. Alfonso planned on keeping Ali too busy to attack it again.

While scouting and raids of the coastal region began in earnest, Alfonso returned to Luz to plan his strategy. The first order of business as always, was to keep open the ports in Gran Rif, Mersa and Precipicias. Both cities had some of the largest garrisons and governors closely tied to the royal family, the governor of Precipicias was Alfonso's second cousin for example. To keep the ports open would require the use of the navy, already present in Mersa. With more war galleys enroute from the northern base at Gijon, their objective was clear. In the planning of the land invasion though, a weakness of the Spanian system showed through: Alfonso himself was fully capable, but above the Banner structure, that is above the tactical level, the Spanians had few command options.

In response Alfonso drafted orders for the recall of Ordoño Nájera to Luz soon after Alfonso attacked east. Placing him in charge of the tactical and strategic military situation under him, he effectively created the position that would come to be known as Grand Duke of the Army and gave it to Ordoño. But he, Alfonso, desperately wanted to take advantage of the militarily situation and 22 days after the Battle of the Western Erg, Alfonso set out for Uskar in a mixed force of infantry and cavalry of 16,000.

After the Battle of the Western Erg, Ali retreated to Uskar, devastating the small farmers in Sijilmasa to feed his tired army and supply the loot demanded of him. It would turn the populace against him, but he needed the goodwill of his native forces more. Still several thousand of his light cavalry evaporated en-route to Uskar. Once there he rode east to fortify his capital of Algiers and raise a new army. On the day Alfonso left Luz, Algiers was better defended than ever and Ali's navy was gathering. When his new army arrived it would be almost twice what he'd taken into Sijilmasa.

But Ali faced a choice: Alfonso's opening target would be Uskar--should he move to save the fortress, or attack Precipicias? That mockingly named port in direct competition to Algiers. It would be a valuable addition to his kingdom and it's fall could be used to bargain with Alfonso. But if Uskar fell the entire western coast would be threatened and he would have to base the military operations in Tiaret ensuring a battle for Tlemcen.

It had to be Uskar.

A MAP OF THE WESTERN MAGHREB, AD 911
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  #122  
Old August 18th, 2009, 02:42 PM
rcduggan rcduggan is offline
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Apologies if this was already covered, but wasn't Algiers not founded until later in the tenth century?

I think Ali should focus on wiping out Precipicias and let Uskar fall. Then once Alfonso has overextended himself, the Idrisids can counterattack from Tlemcen and drive the Spanish out. But I'll wait to see what happens.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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It happens you're right about Algiers.

ITTL, because Abd Ar-rahman unified the peninsula much faster, he was able to move into N. Africa and resist Idris I's original invasion. After Idris ended up defeated, his son established a power base well outside Spanian influence farther east and founded Algiers instead of Fez (TTL's Luz) in the early 9th century as mentioned in this post. Since the city was named after a geographic feature, it retains it's name ITTL.

As to your suggestion, Ali Abdullah might change his mind as he gets more information as Alfonso is already on the move before Ali finishes raising a second army. Ali might decide to do something else but a lot will depend on the outcome of the naval situation (which I am currently working out). Alfonso is depending on his navy to support Precipicias after all. But as I pointed out, the main problem with the Spanian system is lack of generals. Alfonso is better than Ali, but the lack of commanders (since the nobles are pretty well neutered) bogs down the whole assault. Banner commanders were able to deal with it in the Reclamation because that was fought against a feudal enemy, but against a more centralized bureaucratic opponent it's a weakness Ali is going to target.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 07:30 AM
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Interesting bits covering the war - short and informative. I do like the map that you provided.
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  #125  
Old August 20th, 2009, 09:36 PM
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3rd Idrisid War Part II

The air of the Mediterranean sea was hot and humid, saved only from misery this day by the breeze coming off the water. Admiral Antonio Saavedra de Lisbon squinted from under the shade of his hat, looking out over the water. Beside him, his aid shaded his eyes with his hands as his hat had no brim and certainly no plume like Antonio's.

"For all this height I still see nothing," Rolf said, tacking on a "....sir."

They were standing on the fighting platform built into the rear of the galley. Antonio's fleet consisted of almost 40 galleys of which at least half were the new war galleys, built with higher walls and a massive fighting platform in the stern for the bowmen. The things were unwieldy in the open sea, but on a calm day like today they were floating fortresses easily enough. Below him the crew rowed hard in good rhythm with the drumming of the foreman.

"I regret that Lino fellow couldn't get his Owl Eye working. "From here or the nest it would provide a splending view. Only a matter of time one hopes."

He turned away to focus on the rowers. Each of them were armed with a heavy blunt knife and none of them were chained though more than a few were former slaves, their dark skin standing out. The increased slave taxation of the last decade had caused many owners to sell or free their slaves early and it was not uncommon for the freedmen to seek work for the state in either it's building projects or military. Several had proven to be excellent horsemen but even these rowers at three to a bench worked hard along with the rest.

Mentally, Antonio calculated the length of time to reach Precipicias, not long now. The journey south from Gijon had been slow, stopping at port after port to gather more men and ships. They'd stopped in Mersa and off loaded some men as well as resupplied and were finally on the final leg of the trip. Morale was fairly high as the frequent stops had allowed the newcomers to get more accustomed to the voyage, that and the news that Uskar had been completely surrounded less than 4 days previous.

"Sir! A boat!" Rolf said.

Scanning the horizon he turned bewildered to his sunburnt aide who was pointing far lower than he would expect a ship to be. It was indeed a ship, more like a boat really--and then he realized it was a dhow with no mast, or with a broken one. It was also looking rather leaky if his eye did not decieve him. The crew of the battered dhow had been sent from the governor of the city in a desperate bit for help. The news they brought was both welcome and unwelcome: the Idrisid fleet had blockaded Precipicias almost completely, but they'd managed to escape through the blockade through the Lesser Harbor. The city was still holding, but hit from the sea and the land it was running out of time and hope.

After rowing a little more in the darkness he sent more lookouts to keep watch while his men rested. By the next day the fleet was prepared in the early morning hours and Antonio gave thanks for another beautiful hot day with only a light breeze. All too soon the tops of the Muslims galleys were sighted on the horizon and soon the truth of the information became clear: chains, iron chains locking the ships together and preventing all but the smallest craft from existing the harbor.

Beside him his aid made a growling sound.

"Rolf my northern friend, your blood may be up in a sea fight but stay by my side for now, guard me. You will see action, I swear."

His aid reluctantly nodded and settled closer to his left side.

"Marines up!" Antonio yelled waving his plumed hat. "They have chained their ships together to starve our allies and country men! But these servants of the crown shall take them unprepared! Look! See how they scury! But they cannot move like we can!"

All was in readiness. The sails on his galleys were furled to their masts, and beside the rowards were the Almoghavars. In the fighting tops on the galleys, the crossbowmen collected from all over Spaña so that the north was almost stripped of of all but militia troops. For a moment the stillness hung in the air in fleet then:

"Forward! Attack!"
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  #126  
Old August 22nd, 2009, 08:42 AM
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3rd Idrisid War Part III

Note: The next post will see the end of the war so we can visit the rest of the world.

Turning Points, AD 911-915


After Uskar was completely cut off, the governor of the fortress organized raids on the besieging army. One of these sorties was surprised on their return and replaced by Arab and Berber Spanians. Once through the small sally gate in the walls, they held the door long enough for reinforcements to arrive and within three weeks the first and second walls of the fortress belonged to the king. Alfonso himself directed the final assault on the last defense walls and after that breech, the defenders of Uskar surrendered to Spaña. The single most important factor in maintaining the siege was the expensive and high-quality road built from Taza to Uskar. It was matched only by the Cordoba-Toledo roadway and paid for by the success of the Spanian navy after breaking the blockade of Precipicias.

There 16 Spanian ships were put out of action but the Idrisid navy suffered a catastrophe. After supplying the port and exchanging defenders, Admiral Saavedra launched raids across the Idrisid coast, including a daring night raid on Algiers that achieved little but fear. Another benefit to Alfonso II was the behavior of the Byzantine Empire. Having used the war to re-gain all of Sicily, the Greeks cooperated with Spana to decimate Idrisid shipping such that trade through Algiers was reduced a third by 914.

Tlemcen was the only city in the Idrisid empire with a large Christian population. When Alfonso set out for the city from Uskar in 913, the nomads to the south threatened his supply lines. Alfonso was forced to abandon the advance and launched several punitive strikes against them. By the time the nomads were pacified, the army was exhausted and a campaign was planned for the following year. However shortly after reaching Tlemcen in 914, Alfonso left the army and returned to Sijilmasa. After Ordoño Nájera had been recalled to Luz, the rest of the emirate had proven too difficult for the commanders left in charge to deal with. With his chosen army commander tied up with supply the eastern armies, Alfonso took the field himself and subdued the country south of the city, closing off most of the western trade routes to Algiers.

While Alfonso was in the south, Ali Abdullah raised the siege of Precipicias and struck at the Spanian army around Tlemcen with everything he could bring to bear. By the time Ali arrived at Tlemcen, the Spanian army was already into the city in force but they were caught before securing the city and a confused melee erupted in Tlemcen itself. When it was over, the Spanian army retreated to Uskar with heavy losses and with Ali in pursuit. Only the arrival of Duke Nájera allowed the army to reform and beat back several of Ali’s probing attacks. With them and most of the Christian citizens of Tlemcen* they returned to Uskar.

By 915 despite Alfonso’s success in securing Sijilmasa, many of the Spanian regulars were dead and Ali Abdullah was in firm possession of the intiative. He was once again laying siege to Precipicias. Only this time, he was also on his way to Mersa. Alfonso knew something had to be done, but that something came in the form of a Dynasty whose rise would alter the history of the western world, a Dynasty known to histor as the Makanids.
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  #127  
Old August 23rd, 2009, 03:48 PM
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3rd Idrisid War Part IV

The Makanid Uprising and the fall of the Idrisid Dynasty

The origins of the Sufri[1] Makanids are shadowy at best. The name originates from a Persian word meaning a sense-of-place beyond simply geography and they used it to describe the state they built. Under the influence of Spaña in the Ninth century, Sijilmasa became a great exporter of Sufrism. Adhrents left the emirate in protest to the free intermingling of the faiths and spread across the eastern Maghreb often helped by Spaña itself so as to undermine Idrisid control.

The Makanid leader, Ikhshid (an assumed name), is suspected to have been associated with the brief and troubled Persian dynasty of Reza Azad that ended in the Agassid coup of 894. While Ali gathered more men and supplies for the western war his control over the eastern regions frayed and his agents were obliged to use harsh measures to keep the region under control. When Ikhshid revolted in 915 (likely supported by Byzantium) he seized Tripolitania and invaded central Ifriqiya.

In the west, Alfonso II had pulled men from all over the kingdom to field one final army. In contrast to the start of the war, the militia were armed soley with spear and shield. But this took time and he was unable to prevent the sacking of Mersa late in 915. That loss made Precipicias even more important after Ali returned once again to that fortress, swearing that he would reduce it. But the city had been too well built and fortified to take from the landward side alone, and Ali had still not rebuilt his fleet.

When Ali and Alfonso faced each other at Precipicias in 917, Alfonso was successful in putting Ali to flight and freeing the city for good. It was after the siege that the city was officially named Adrar, the mountain in the Berber tongue.

After his loss at Adrar, the emerging power of the Makanids was becoming too great for Ali to ignore. The terms of the peace he proposed were generous, but lacked the thing Alfonso wanted most, a land connection with Adrar. Seeing it as a dagger the heart of his lands, Ali had to refuse. He might still have won, but Alfonso and Ikhshid opened lines of communication and committed themselves to his destruction. The surprise was that Ali retained the loyalty of the people for so long. Despite the efforts of Alfonso and the Makanids, despite the conquest of Sardinia by the Byzantine Empire, it was only in 924 that Ali was killed in his own capital and the city surrendered to Ikhshid.

The treaty between the kingdoms of Spaña and Makan (officially the Maleket of Makan) agreed to in the new Makanid capital of Tunis in 925, turned out to be deeply advantageous for Spaña: not only did Uskar, Tlemcen and Tiaret come under full Spanian control, but free access to Algiers was granted from all Spanian ships. It was clear that Malek Ikhshid had designs focused elsewhere, ones Alfonso unknowingly encouraged.

But as he returned home to order his new lands and rebuild his army, he could truly be said to have earned his name, Alfonso II the Great.

__________________________________________

1. I was able to find very little on Sufrism. The sources for that section are largely what can be gleaned by North Africa, Islam and the Mediterranean World; From the Almoravids to the Algerian War by Julia Ann Clancy-Smith and artistic license. If someone has another source I am more than willing to revise and update the section.
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  #128  
Old August 23rd, 2009, 08:44 PM
rcduggan rcduggan is offline
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Interesting, I did not know that Tlemcen had a significant Christian population in the tenth century (or is this a TTL development?). Alfonso seems to be doing extremely well against the Muslims of the Maghreb. I wonder what will be the focus of Malek Ikhshid's ambitions that you allude to.

Also, here's a little bit of info on Sufrism.
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcduggan View Post
Interesting, I did not know that Tlemcen had a significant Christian population in the tenth century (or is this a TTL development?). Alfonso seems to be doing extremely well against the Muslims of the Maghreb. I wonder what will be the focus of Malek Ikhshid's ambitions that you allude to.

Also, here's a little bit of info on Sufrism.
Thanks for that link, it actually led me into a few things so I can flesh out the history of the region and better explain why Alfonso did so well. IOTL Tlemcen had a sizable population of Christians until the Almoravids I think. Also.... we'll get to what's happening elsewhere, things start ramping up a lot from about this time until 1100 AD all over the place, which I'll detail a bit in the following updates.

1: IOTL the early Idrisids were personally Shia but not really on fire about it. They helped form Morocco and put pressure on the non-Christians. In TTL they founded Algeria. This means they are in much more protracted conflict on all sides as the Caliphs don't want a nominally Shia state next to them. While not as apparent here, Idris II's heirs still tended to divide the country into sub-divisions for theirs heirs with one supposedly predominant--a recipe for myriad struggles every succession. Ali was notable in that he became overwhelmingly dominant fast (he actually began as a third son in my genealogy charts).

2. IOTL the Kharajite Rustamids were based in Tiaret/Sijilmasa. ITTL with encouragement from the Spaniards, Sufrism became dominant and spread east but was weaker in Sijilmasa. I tend to see the Sufri's rather like an egalitarian version of Biblical Primalist Evangelical Protestants. While the Idrisids built Islam in the region, Sufrism became more widespread with time but was repressed because of the pressures on the Idrisids. Partly due to necessity and partly doctrine, it led to a more relaxed attitude toward non-muslims, which is why there are more of them. In OTL it happened because the Ibadis and Sufris were in charge, here it happens so that they survive the Idrisid pressure.
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  #130  
Old August 25th, 2009, 12:26 AM
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A bit melancholy this

Near Algeciras, Spaña, AD 927

A blur of movement caught Alejandro’s eye and he turned his head and kicking his horse to a gallop. Gripping the staff tightly in his fist, he was about to secure possession when another horse cut in front of him. A sharp crack sounded and the brightly colored ball went flying. Alejandro made a noise of frustration only to get a face full of bright red scarf as the other rider cut off his shortest path to the ball. Pulling back he swung around and managed to break free shouting for Enrique. Ahead of him another rider in bright red came into view, her long black hair streaming behind her and Alejandro leaned against his mount for more speed. He caught up as she seized control of the ball and they were off, racing toward the goal posts battling for control. When he reached for the ball she kept it just ahead of them as the others tried to catch up. She pulled up short before he was ready and momentum and surprise conspired against him but he felt a surge of confidence when he realized he was blocking her route to the goal. He waited for her to try to push through but to his surprise she flicked her staff and the ball shot sideways…. right in front of Maryem who promptly scored in what had to be a perfect shot.

“That’s it! We win!” the Princess of Spaña whooped hefting her staff in the air. From around the field came squeals of triumph and her team mobbed her in a joyous celebration. Looking around at his own men he saw them looking tired and embarrassed. He scrubbed a hand through his hair and scowled at his sister. Her team slowly walked their mounts back to where the groomsmen and her new northern maid were waiting. Only Maryem looked back under her headscarf and even at this distance he saw her flash a white smile with a touch of mockery. His sister rode up to him and they dismounted, leading their horses back together at a walk.

“Not very graceful, Sara.”

“Leave off,” she giggled. “You’re just jealous because I command better than you do and I’m not even going to be king!”

“No, you’re going to be a wife, and you’re no good at that.” He could almost hear the giddy “wheee!” after her last sentence and felt his ears heat.

“You just have to bring that up,” she said sharply. “I will do just fine with Count Anger and be an excellent princess of Brittany.” For emphasis she turned up her nose making a haughty sound. He gave in and laughed.

“Oh all right! You rode very well,” he admitted.

“Thank you.”

“I’m sorry to bring that up, but you leave so soon…”

“I know,” she sighed. “It could be worse, I could be marrying into France. Then I would have to endure how great they are and how they are bringing God to the northmen and Order to the east and how they made Spaña possible and on and on.”

“I see you listened when the emissary arrived last week?”

“At the door on my stomach! Nwella was quite horrified,” Sara grinned.

“At the emissary or your posture?”

“Both of course. Honestly, Alejito, what is it about the desert that makes people so boringly formal all the time? Well I‘ll take her north with me and then we‘ll see!”

“I’ll miss you,” he said.

She stopped walking and looked at him. “I know…. but with the island settling down at last, we need a way into those markets to rebuild the south.”

“Listen to you, putting the affairs of state ahead of everything else.”

“I will always be a loyal daughter of Spaña!” she said, but her face sobered. “The decision is made and I have to make the most of it. Will you write?”

“Don't doubt it even for a moment.”

“Good! Besides I know you, the one you’ll really be missing is Maryem.”

________________________________________

A/N: A tiny story section to set the stage for future updates and the map coming in 950. Also it's pronounced SAH-rah.
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  #131  
Old August 26th, 2009, 12:23 AM
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HERE WE GO!!

Alejandro II. r. 931-944

When Princess Sara left Spaña to be married to Ronan of Angers, Prince Luis missed her the most. The 5 year old boy cried for days and it was only when Alejandro spent time with him that he finally calmed though he remained a sickly child. When Alfonso II died, Alejandro ascended to the throne and seemed to growing into a good but unremarkable king. Alejandro’s concern was to integrate the new lands in his kingdom and five new provinces were organized.

The king clearly favored the southern reaches of his domain. His mother was from there, and his father had expanded it. At peace with Makan Alejandro focused on building up his domains and expanding the opportunities for trade as almost all the western routes were in his grip. The increased trade necessitated more comprehensive laws and accordingly the University of Barcelona (Laws) was founded in 934. Alejandro attracted legal minds of all religions and backgrounds to go over the mess and eventually to teach the revisions to others. Securing the Saharan routes were the reason for the creation of Agadir Province at the start of his reign. Jardin (Port Garden) was founded in one of few fertile areas of the province and to Alejandro’s surprise it provided more than just a way to extend his power: silver was found, and high quality ores.

The ores were in demand as wire-drawing had improved remarkably in the last 30 years. It led to much better mail in the recent war, but most importantly to a fascinating discovery by Alejandro’s great aunt Teresa[1] who owing to her illegitimacy had opted for a life of quiet study. Marrying a prominent forger immediately upon Alejandro’s ascension mystified the young king, but he assumed it had to with not embarrassing his father.

In 935 the year before her son Ortiz was born Teresa created an artificial lodestone.[2] At 26 she'd long been interested in all sorts of curiosities from the east and devoured the books of Abbas and Alkindus while growing up. She managed to get her hand on a pot that duplicated the effect of the quartz rays[3] that Abbas and Alkindus had discovered almost a century before and based on their researches and almost 5 years of her own work she was able to duplicate them. As time went on, because her eyes were starting to weaken Teresa placed concave lenses in a little wire stand on her desk to look through creating the first spectacles in 942.

The other event in Alejandro II's reign was the rebellion on Sardinia that forced the Byzantine garrison out in 930. A subsequent expedition launched by Alexander II failed when several of his units joined the rebels. A second expedition also met with failure, as well as one sent by Ikhshid of Makan to regain the land held by Ali Abdullah. Alejandro profited handsomely by knowing when to act and an invasion by the Spaniards spearheaded by Grand Duke Garcia Maura III the Count of Adrar[4] brought the island under their control by 943. Several families from Barga Province whose ancestors were Sardinian were re-settled there voluntarily--keeping the old promise made by Salamon--as the core elite of the island, which was designated as a military governorship.

More pleasant news came with the birth's of Sara's children Marcas and Brigid. Trade was looking up even as the wider world began to intrude once more on the Kingdom of Spaña. While securing Sardinia Alejandro began to take stock of the rest of the region, particularly Italy where several of the Halcona family had founded enterprises thanks to contacts in Marseille.

Unfortunately he never acted on his thoughts. Alejandro died of illness in 944 leaving only a 4 year old bastard child, by a chance dalliance with a servant. This the Pope would not countenance, not in a land so near his borders and headed by a Roman Consul beside! Luis took the throne in 944 but this was only a temporary solution and in 946 the sickly younger brother too passed and the problem remained. Thanks to the incredible hold the dynasty had on the country, not one of the other nobles save perhaps the Grand Duke had the stature to start a new line without the country shattering into at least a score of states...

....thus began the First Interregnum.

__________________________________________

[1] Ramiro II had two illegitimate daughters. Also note, Rodrigo is Ramiro II’s brother and both are children of Alfonso I. Alfonso II was Rodrigo's son and the heir because he was the only legitimate child around.
[2]Weak Electromagnet!
[3]Baghdad Battery, brought by traders as a curiosity around 900. She’s been playing with the things since she was 4 after she zapped herself and loved it.
[4]Alejandro finanlly straightened out the administration. Most cities have governors that are swapped out but a few are designated as more important and are hereditary governorships (these are Counts). However they are held at the pleasure of the crown in theory.

DYNASTIC CHART
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  #132  
Old August 26th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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Map! AD 950

THE WORLD OF THE RAPTOR OF SPAIN, AD 950




I was going to wait on this till the next update, but I am superstitious about ending the posts for any period on a multiple of 13.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 12:18 AM
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Death to Byzantium!?

The First Interregnum 944-951

There was no chaos at first: the administration kept discharging functions if for nothing else, through inertia. It was like the Greek Empire in that the machinery of state was in certain ways independent of any one man but the dynasty was critical.

The prominent men of Spaña were prominent for achievements in administration and business but none possessed the credibility to rule. The dynasty started by Abd ar-Rahman had bound itself to the state to such an extent that while no one else could rule, no one else could rebel.

One of the most prominent families were the Halcona. A wealthy family formed during the Reclamacion they had provided Queen Maritza to King Rodrigo. A generation later, Almas Halcona wed Ramiro's daughter Leonor who bore two sons and a daughter before she expired in 938. The sons had used their stupendous wealth and position in Spaña to wed destitute nobles in France and Brittany to establish connections there and supported a greater presence in Italy. Their sister wed a southerner named Fajad al-Maghrebi.

With his wife’s money Fajad established a name for himself in the new provinces, coming to the notice of Grand Duke Garcia Maura III the Count of Adrar[1]. It was these men that kept the state functional during the Interregnum. Maura in particular felt a loyalty to the ruling dynasty and it was this that kept the kingdom together and were known informally as the "General Court."

Discussions were held with Princess Sara on the suitability of proclaiming her son Marcas as king of Spaña, but the situation stalled. Marcas was betrothed to Princess Maeva of Ireland, but opposing the ascension of a foreign king was a coalition led by the Marques of Badajoz, his allies in Vascoña and the powerful Count of Lisbon. Admiral and Count Antonio Saavedra and his son Pedro controlled the African sea trade and had essentially built the Spañan navy. When Marcas wed Maeva in 948 even that hope was lost.

The battles lines were being drawn when salvation came from the east. In AD 950, the Greek Emperor Michael the Archonite invaded Italy with a massive army pointed squarely at Rome. The revelation of the Lombard Crown as worthless led to near-panic on the part of the Pope and great concern in Spaña. A victory for their rivals in Italy would close all the routes to the eastern trade--for the alliance with the Makanids had ended the friendliness the Caliphs had shown the kingdom since the reign of Harun al-Rashid.

In 950 Teresa arrived at Toledo with a guest. A meeting was set up between Pedro Saavedra and Garcia Maura. What happened there was shrouded in mystery[2] but Fajad and Alfonso of Iria were dispatched with all possible speed to Rome. They returned in 951 aboard an Aarenese merchant ship with a letter from the Pope. Popular legend says that they escaped just days before advance Imperial units reached the city.

In front of Princess Sara who had arrived from Brittany, Teresa’s 14 year old son Ortiz read aloud the letter of the Pope granting his mother (the actual wording was his entire family) dispensation for any illegitimacy in the sight of God and man, and asking for Spañan assistance: he wished to visit the Iria and was prevented from doing so.

The next day Teresa’s son was crowed as Ortiz King of Spaña and the invasion of Italy was on.

________________________________________________


[1]In the previous post there was a Count Rolando as Grand Duke. This is wrong. Rolando is Garcia III successor as Grand Duke. I’d mixed them up.
Note: Grand Duke and Duke have become purely military titles in Spaña, the equivalent of “General.”

[2]She proved her father in law, the guest, was the son of Alfonso I.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 06:46 AM
G.Bone G.Bone is offline
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Will you elaborate on what's going on with England and Ireland in future installments?
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  #135  
Old August 27th, 2009, 12:04 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is online now
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Will you elaborate on what's going on with England and Ireland in future installments?
Seconded. And this Roman-Spanan war seems interesting- will we see Spana attempt to claim to be the restored Western Empire maybe? I also wonder how the Muslims will respond to it all. Looking forward to the next installments- a historical one maybe?
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Old August 28th, 2009, 02:18 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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PART 1 OF 3.

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Originally Posted by G.Bone View Post
Will you elaborate on what's going on with England and Ireland in future installments?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basileus Giorgios View Post
Seconded. And this Roman-Spanan war seems interesting- will we see Spana attempt to claim to be the restored Western Empire maybe? I also wonder how the Muslims will respond to it all. Looking forward to the next installments- a historical one maybe?
That's no problem. I've had a rough outline of what happened in England and Ireland sitting in a little file and it wasn't hard to expand it. I'm still working out the entirety of the "Roman War" as it's going to be called. But it's going to start my end target for an ERE that defies at least a few of the cliches. The Muslims... I won't say too much but they are a little bit distracted right now by internal matters. They will be coming into the story again in a very big way in the 11th Century. I will probably do another historical flashback to describe the ripples from the Roman War.

Also note: it's not coming into the TL for some time, but the ripples will be reaching western China very soon.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NORTH

When Ortiz (r. 951-990) was crowned King, he took Araman as a cognomen to make clear who he should be identified with. It was a surprise to everyone, but it was his last independent act for some time. At fourteen, his mother and the rest of the “General’s Court” made the decisions and he was largely left to indulge his own pursuits and to play with his brother Ramon (b.939 - d.982). One of the things they did to amuse themselves was listen to as many tales of far-off lands as they could from the Irish emissaries that resided at the Spañan court. Present because Irish cogs were perfect for transporting the cargoes needed to supply the Spanan armies in Italy, the Irish were able to handle the Mediterranean sea easily despite not yet becoming the famed mariners of later ages.

The Celtic nations had begun to strengthen their historic ties after the Peace of Britain[1] was established. Since both countries had ties with Spaña, under the friendship of Marcas with Irish Heir Domnall, a partnership was founded that brought the Irish emissaries to the Spañan court where they told Ortiz their tales of travels all over the north. That the Celtic nations forged ties with Spaña over France was testament to their fear of that kingdom. Spaña had repeatedly shown their attention was focused on the south and it was hoped that their historic alliance with France would acting as a moderating influence even in the absence of direct intervention. With the conclusion of the brutal French conquest of Scandinavia almost a certainty, it was important to find a counterweight and Spaña was their only option.

The French method of dealing with enemies was a direct result of the experiences of Charles I while campaigning in Spaña. Abd ar-Rahman had treated his enemies from the Caliphate with utmost brutality and had a tendency to totally destroy any opposition. Surrender brought conciliation and cooperation, opposition, total destruction. Taking that approach to heart with the Saxons Charles had been so harsh that like was said of the Angles, the Saxon people--those that survived--abandoned their old lands utterly and settled in the British Isles. The Saxons already there tended not to want them and placed them on their border with the native Britons. Shunned and desperate, the newly arrived Saxons proceeded to conquer the west using the brutal methods they’d been taught by Charles.

Now it was the turn of the Britons to flee. Some did not, and those were almost all absorbed into the vastly larger Saxon population. A few of those who did went to Ireland but most fled to the more hospitable and less chaotic land of the Bretons. During the Consulate War the situation for the Franks had gone poorly and it was only when the Duke of Brittany and his Celtic legions had taken command of the Frankish armies that they were able to successfully contain the rebellion. In the Reclamation, they had seized the opportunity again offering to defend the French coast from the Vikings and assist King Louis while the French focused on crushing the Kingdom of the Pyrenees. In the process they established links to those Vikings and by the end of the Reclamation had gained territory in reward, including Angers which became the seat of the Heir, and proclaimed themselves Princes of Brittany. Through careful dynastic maneuvering they came into possession of several French lordships, chief among them Touraine and Maine.[2]

It was well the Britons did not flee to Ireland. After the First Emperor had unified the island and expelled the Norse[3] in 871 it had inspired the Saxons. One of the Saxon kings by the name of Aelfwin Iron-hand (r. 871-899) who came to the throne by fratricide, managed to stitch together a coalition of Saxon lords under him that won a string of victories pushing the Norse out of the southern plains. It was with growing concern that Emperor Patrick watched Aelfwin lead a successful invasion of Northumbria. It was the greatest fear of all the Irish Emperors that a single power would fully unify the big island and turn their attentions to the next logical place: them.

But fate has a way of intervening. When France and Spaña destroyed the Kingdom of the Pyrenees it left both exhausted. The Danish monarchy’s overriding goal and the one that had fueled their conquest of all Scandinavia was fear of French invasion. Attacking France was a recipe for defeat no matter how weak they were. Instead King Eirik the Hungry longed to bring all the northerners who resisted his rule to heel and turned his attention to war-torn Britannia where he saw the Saxons and the Norse beating each other into the mud.

At long last it was time for the Danes to go a-Viking.

______________________________________

[1]The British Isles as a whole
[2]They are vassals of the French in those particular territories
[3]Almost all Norwegians with a few Swedes and Danes
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  #137  
Old August 29th, 2009, 04:20 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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Couple of queries.

One, you seem to have England/Scotland/Iceland listed as Scotia. Since "Scot" means "Irish", how does this work? (Remember that the 'Scots', i.e. Irish, invaded Pictland OTL, and took it over, which is why Scots and Irish Gaelics are quite similar - 'cause they were the same language ~700AD (or so))


Two, you have the 'former slaves' be darker than the other sailors. ??? Weren't slaves more likely to be lighter Europeans than darker sub-saharan Africans? Or am I misreading something? Were they just tanned from exposure as galley slaves?
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  #138  
Old August 29th, 2009, 06:00 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Originally Posted by Dathi THorfinnsson View Post
Couple of queries.

One, you seem to have England/Scotland/Iceland listed as Scotia. Since "Scot" means "Irish", how does this work? (Remember that the 'Scots', i.e. Irish, invaded Pictland OTL, and took it over, which is why Scots and Irish Gaelics are quite similar - 'cause they were the same language ~700AD (or so))


Two, you have the 'former slaves' be darker than the other sailors. ??? Weren't slaves more likely to be lighter Europeans than darker sub-saharan Africans? Or am I misreading something? Were they just tanned from exposure as galley slaves?
1. PoD is well after 700. Irish migration/invasion of the pics still happened. Butterflies don't really start hitting them much until the Norse attacked but they unified and kicked the Norse off the island (politically) while they were fighting the Saxons. With no Danes (yet) Norse activity is concentrated in Scotland and Northern England with coflict developing along a north-south axis. The Norse are still fusing with the native Pict/Irish population into I guess, Norse-Gaels with a little Anglo-Saxon on the bottom. If there's a better name for a Norse-Gael type kingdom with the Norse part more dominant than historically, then I'll change it. Scotia is mostly what the Latins call them anyway, I honestly am not sure what they'd call themselves so I am more than open to suggestions. I read something like 5 books on the Baltic this summer so I could plot out what happens, but any suggestions/corrections on Norse culture will be appreciated.

ED: The Scoti Raiders and Dal Riata is what you mean right?

2. Good catch. The line should read: "....none of them were chained though more than a few were former slaves, the ones with dark skin standing out."

Spaña has few slaves over all for various reasons I can detail if you wish. The short version is there a very big bias against large landowners and for small-holders. Since Spaña and Ghana control all the western trade routes, the slaves that ARE there are almost all captured Tuaregs that try to contest the control (the darker ones) or Slavs from Eastern Europe captured by Novgorod, the Pechengs and Khazars and sold to Spaña via French and Danish routes. Anyhow most of the slavs are sold to Perisa or Byzantium. and since the Byzantines have firmer control over the Balkans that has not developed into slave source though Circassia has.
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  #139  
Old August 29th, 2009, 08:33 PM
Dathi THorfinnsson Dathi THorfinnsson is offline
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Originally Posted by MNPundit View Post
1. PoD is well after 700. Irish migration/invasion of the pics still happened. Butterflies don't really start hitting them much until the Norse attacked but they unified and kicked the Norse off the island (politically) while they were fighting the Saxons. With no Danes (yet) Norse activity is concentrated in Scotland and Northern England with coflict developing along a north-south axis. The Norse are still fusing with the native Pict/Irish population into I guess, Norse-Gaels with a little Anglo-Saxon on the bottom. If there's a better name for a Norse-Gael type kingdom with the Norse part more dominant than historically, then I'll change it. Scotia is mostly what the Latins call them anyway, I honestly am not sure what they'd call themselves so I am more than open to suggestions. I read something like 5 books on the Baltic this summer so I could plot out what happens, but any suggestions/corrections on Norse culture will be appreciated.

ED: The Scoti Raiders and Dal Riata is what you mean right?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alba
How about "Alba" or "Alpland" or "Albaland" or some such. The Norse, (as a wild generalization) tended not to massively rename things when they took over if there was a native population, but rather pronounce it with a Norse accent, and maybe add a descriptive (like ey=island, land=land, etc.)

"Scotland" would work, too. But "Alba"/"Albion" was orginally used for the whole island, and if that's what the territory is now (almost), it would make some sense.
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  #140  
Old August 30th, 2009, 10:43 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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PART 2 of 3.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NORTH (CONT.)

Eirik's army landed near York in 878 while the local forces were campaigning in the north with King Aelfwin. By the end of the season the Danes seized all territory south to East Anglia after destroying several of the returning armies in detail. Only Mercia dared answer Aelfwin's summons after learning that Essex had been subdued by the Danish King and the battle went disastrously for the Saxons and Aelfwin's own Wessex men formed a rear guard that prevented total catastrophe.

While viking raids had afflicted the entire island, most vikings settled in the north mingling with the Gaels and Picts.[1] Largely Christian, when King Eirik called on them remember their blood it was fear and their own conflicts with the Saxons that joined them to an expedition to subdue Deira. Meanwhile Aelfwin launched a series of punitive raids against Nessex for deserting him.[2]

When Eirik struck Mercia in the 886 in an late winter assault, the Mercian levies were driven into the Somerset levels where most drowned in a surprise flood. Aelfwin was forced to retreat deeper into Wessex after only a few skirmishes to help his allies and upon his return he slew his remaining brother to quell any thought of selling him out to the Dane.

Eirik returned to Denmark in 887 to boast of the success of his efforts and recruit even more men to him. His twin sons Hakon and Sweyn were left to rule Mercia and even made strong inroads into Nessex--but Aelfwin seized Sussex-Kent in the interim.

The Irish were terrified. Emperor Colm sent messages to the Norse-Gaels lords in the north and Aelfwin. In exchange for the Brythonic part of Cornwall, Irish forces landed in Nessex. Their army was not numerous, but it was armed with the best weapons they could import from Spaña and announced it’s arrival by destroying a Danish force. On hearing the news Aelfwin invaded Mericia and the northern lords proclaimed they could never accept a heathen king. It was luck more than anything else, but of the worst kind: Hakon was now, unfortunately, a resting placed for a pair of Irish javelins.

While Sweyn was slowly driven out of Nessex and Bernicia, Eirik gathered more than 300 ships with over 12,000 men including from Pannonia and even hired a large contingent of Pechengs who had recently fallen out with their own countrymen. Landing at York again in 895 he destroyed an Irish-Saxon force besieging the city and loosed the Pechengs to gleefully raid across much of the southwest in an orgy of terror. A string of victories followed as Mercia and Nessex were re-taken and the Irish armies driven into the sea. Dividing his forces he sent Sweyn south to pin Aelfwin and took the rest of his army north to punish the northern rebels.

The Emperor declared a fight for God against the pagans and an outpouring of religious zeal--along with a promise of certain lands along the coast--led to a second army landed to support the northern lords. The remaining Saxons forces in the north joined themselves to this coalition as Eirik was burning his way north and installing Danish overlords. The northern campaign culminated in the Battle of Culloden (899).

It could be said King Eirik won the Battle of Culloden for in the end, the Danes were in possession of a field strewn with Irish, Saxon and Norse-Gael corpses. Among them were over half the lords of the north.

They were also in possession of King Eirik’s corpse.

Sweyn took the crown swearing to avenge his family and proceeded to do so by finally running King Aelfwin to ground in October of that year. Annexing most of Wessex in a brutal campaign a Danish king once again received the terrified submission of the northerners save for one: a Harald who fled to the coastlines and islands of the north and raided Danish targets whenever he dared. In a short time Herald became something of a folk hero while Sweyn proceeded to fill the lordships of the north with his own men.

_______________________________

[1]Norwegians mostly, and a few Swedes and Danes. Descendants of adventurers but also people who did not want to fall under the control of the Danish kings who extended their realm throughout the past 100 years ITTL. They basically form a Norse aristocracy but are already only tenously connected and did not have the sheer numbers to win in the south so they mostly went north and raided south. Not more than 25% of the population.

[2]The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms are mostly the same as IOTL but with far fewer Danish viking raids the eastern kingdoms were stronger ITTL and so were not gobbled up by Wessex--Aelfwin leads a coalition of minor kings. Nessex = New Saxony, and occupies the spot where Welsh lordships were IOTL. Northumbria has ended up split between the various Saxon Kingdoms and the northerners with Bernicia/Deria as dividing line as they took advantage of it's weakness here instead of Ivar and Halfdan.
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