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  #141  
Old August 31st, 2009, 07:16 AM
G.Bone G.Bone is offline
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Ah - I was wondering what happened in the North.
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  #142  
Old September 1st, 2009, 01:22 AM
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PART 3 of 3.

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Ah - I was wondering what happened in the North.
Now you know. 100 years in 3 posts.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NORTH (FIN)


By now King Sweyn of Denmark was master of all the island. But it was a tenuous mastery. Half the norther lords were now Danes but the Saxons were still restless in the south. While campaigning against them, he had to periodically punish recalcitrant underlings while growing more frustrated at the effort it was taking. The frustration exploded when his wife and children were accidentally killed in one particularly harsh uprising while he was in the north. Having lost his entire family in the expedition to Britain, it would be fair to say that King Sweyn went a little mad.

From 905-908 he launched what was know as the "Harrowing of the South." Throughout the Saxon Kingdoms he burned village after village, focusing most on Mercia and Wessex. All the inhabitants were killed, food was burned, livestock stolen or left to rot and tools were destroyed to prevent farming. When he began to salt some of the richest fields in the south even his own men began to doubt him but his only criteria now was loyalty.

News of events in Britain horrified Pope Hadrian II. He took the extraordinary step of going to meet the French king in his capital at Metz. In 910, while Alfonso II claimed Sijilmasa, Hadrian proclaimed anathema[1] and Holy War against the Pagan Empire of Denmark.

Sweyn spent 910 once again campaigning against the Saxons to ensure their submission for the next year he took as many of his loyal men as he could and sailed back to Denmark. The French armies were already laying siege to the Murenborg.

It was then that Harald Bloodeyes[2] emerged from his hiding places int he north. With Irish backing he proclaimed himself leader of a new opposition to the Danish overlords. Despite Sweyn's harsh measures or perhaps because of them, the men of the north regardless of ancestry flocked to his banners as he rode south.

There he met the resistance of the Danish retainers, but they were weakened due to a plague that had ravaged the lands after the Harrowing and most submitted after he won a few battles. To his surprise in the coming years, more Danes arrived on the island--but these were refugees and familes, not invaders. The French had stormed Murenborg in 913 and the choice of French overlordship or a half-mad king did not appeal to them. Many converted at this time, and would serve under him in the future forming a bodyguard of sorts. The Saxons themselves were exhausted and simply relieved to be ruled by a more permissive sovereign.

In 914 Harald was proclaimed King of Albaney. Despite their current exhaustion, the Saxons would still outnumber King Harald's people, and as they would eventually grow restless. Forcing Harald to expend effort and energy in keeping his domains was an acceptable outcome for the Irish. With the south so devastated, Harald was ever in search of better land to increase the numbers of his own people and it chanced that his mariners encountered an island they named Greenland, a dot of verdant life in a cool sea though less fertile than first thought.

Surprisingly, Harald found Irish monks there. This interested the Emperor and he put forth a claim. Trouble was averted when a second island was discovered farther west and named Greater Greenland. Harald gladly ceded that to the Emperor who was disappointed to discover that Harald had grossly misstated the quality of the land. In disgust he renamed it Iceland and it was a bone of contention between Ireland and Albaney for some time.

These tales of new islands fascinated King Ortiz but he could only ask questions while the Spaņan fleet sailed east to Italy...

_________________________________________

[1]In the sense of being "offered up to God." I.E. the Pope is effectively calling for the Christianization or Sacrifice of the Danes. Note: this conquest took time, and free lancers from Brittany, Bavaria and Italy joined up and King Phillip of France was able to exhausted his nobility, distribute more lands, and generally increase his own power.

[2]At Culloden Harald escaped because he was knocked out and his face was covered in blood from a cut on his head obscuring his identity. When he appeared to his remaining followers he hadn't washed it off, and so he gained his name.
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  #143  
Old September 2nd, 2009, 08:42 AM
G.Bone G.Bone is offline
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Why is it Albaney?
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  #144  
Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:22 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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Interesting stuff- let's keep it up!

I'm wondering what's happening in modern Romania, which is under the dominion of Constantinople ITTL. In our world, this area was always extremelly poor and underdeveloped throughout the dark ages; has Roman/Bulgarian domination been able to lift it out of poverty? I'm assuming that the fact that the Roman Empire extends so far north is going to have some pretty serious repurcussions- an Orthodox Baltic, perhaps? Also, with Christian Spanian rule in modern Morocco, is Christianity spreading throughout the tribes of the Sahara?
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  #145  
Old September 2nd, 2009, 01:56 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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Why is it Albaney?
Dathi pointed out that "ey" is an island. So it's Albion+ey (Irish = Albain+ey). Technically in this period it's Albioney but that's a mouthful and eventually it gets shortened to Albaney in part because of Irish dominance and then it gets spoken as "Albany" which has a false etymology with Alba to the people, so it gets accepted. So I just use Albaney from the start.

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Interesting stuff- let's keep it up!

I'm wondering what's happening in modern Romania, which is under the dominion of Constantinople ITTL. In our world, this area was always extremelly poor and underdeveloped throughout the dark ages; has Roman/Bulgarian domination been able to lift it out of poverty? I'm assuming that the fact that the Roman Empire extends so far north is going to have some pretty serious repurcussions- an Orthodox Baltic, perhaps? Also, with Christian Spanian rule in modern Morocco, is Christianity spreading throughout the tribes of the Sahara?
I actually wrote out a brief history that answers many of your questions, but the short version: Yes, not entirely sure, Yes. I'll be starting to post stuff that answers it more carefully as the ERE will come into the story as more than the enemy of the Spaniards later in the 11th Century, culminating sometime around oh say... 1079.

Also, the period between 840-925 was an Armenia wank.

THE ROMAN WAR PART I: 950-952

The Roman War (aka the Third Consulate War) began when Emperor Michael captured Bari in an amphibious assault. Over 50,000 men crossed the Adriatic. When the force sent to take Taranto was repulsed, the King of Italy and Duke of Amalfi mustered an army to face the Emperor. In the course of two battles he was defeated and trapped in Amalfi--resisting, the city was sacked. Dividing his army, the Emperor sent half south to conquer Calabria where they were forced to lay siege to Catanzaro while he marched on Rome defeating an army led by the Dukes of Pisa and Spoleto. When he arrived in Rome it seemed that all resistance would collapse. At a meeting held between the remaining Duchies to choose a new king, Genoa loudly demanded to create the Emperor Michael as Duke of Latium and then King of Italy in an effort to appease him.

The Confederation of the Aar was a French client state from survivors of the Kingdom of the Pyrenees. They managed to gain control of several of the Italian duchies throughout the years and led the opposition to Greek Emperor. With approval of the French King they put forth the Consul of Rome Ortiz as their candidate. In the end, the meeting broke up without any decision but by then the Spaņans had begun to arrive in force in Sardinia. An invasion of Genoa by it’s dying rival Albenga and the Confederation followed and Albenga offered the island of Corsica as a secondary staging area for the Spaņan armies. In the days that followed Pisa, Spoletto and Ancona (those most at risk from the Emperor) declared for Ortiz and Grand Duke Maura landed at Pisa and Livorno.

As the Emperor marched north to counter this threat reports reached the Spaņans that a large Greek fleet had set sail from Sicily to harass Spaņan supply lines and provide imperial reinforcements. Upon receipt of the news, the Grand Duke and Admiral Pedro Saavedra had a fierce argument on whether to intercept this fleet. Maura wanted all available forces to meet the Emperor but Saavedra argued that that the enemy fleet needed to be dealt with first. In the end, most of the Almoghavar Marines were offloaded to Maura while Saavedra took the rest[1] south to meet the fleet--a compromise that left both men unhappy.

The Greek and Spaņan fleets met in the Tuscan Archipelago somewhere near the island of Elba. With near parity, the result depended on the tactics of each side. As they closed, the farsighted among the Spaņans sighted siphons on the Greek vessels and a flag signal was run up Saavedra’s vessel and the Spaņan fleet slowed allowing the Greek navy to close on them. As the first jars of Greek Fire were flung from shipboard catapults, the Spaņans answered back with fire of their own: Naphtha and quicklime. They took the Greek navy by surprise causing heavy damage and confusion in the opening minutes as the Spaņans closed with their opponents as smoke and fire covered the water.

When it was over, it was the Greek fleet that withdrew to repair and resupply while Saavedra landed at the tiny village of Populino causing most of the inhabitants to flee. When he learned of the size of the imperial force that had recently passed through the area from remaining locals, he sent almost all his military contingent north under young Sancho Najera with as many horses as he could buy or steal to reach the Grand Duke. That one of the captured ships was transporting horses was what made it possible.

Grand Duke Maura met the imperial forces between Livorno and Pisa. The Spaņans, their Italian and Aarin allies numbered 25,000 the imperials somewhat less. Yet it was the Spaņans who were driven back by combination of Cataphractoi archers and lancers. Even the Almoghavars' famous ferocity was beaten down in the face of the armored warriors. Time and again the archers staggered the front line of spearmen enough for the lancers to tear gaps in it while foot soldiers followed. Even the crossbow bolts were less effective, requiring a closer shot or multiple strikes to bring down it's target. Time and again Maura was able to staunch the breach and the battle went on.

It was the attack by Sancho Najera on the Greek camp and then the imperial right flank that turned the battle for the Spaņans. Caught by surprise, it broke up rapidly enough for Spaņan reserves to exploit the break through begin an envelopment of the imperial force. Seeing the danger the Emperor ordered a retreat--and it was only the use of the Palace Guard who suffered heavily that a general route was prevented.

When it was over, the Emperor’s unstoppable onslaught had been halted at last and he retreated to Rome to re-group his army as Florence declared for Ortiz.
_________________________________________________

[1]There are full compliments of rowers but Saavedra replaced the marines with Makanid, Italian and French mercenaries. There are also many Spaņan crossbowmen.

KEY: Crossed Swords are battles, Fire Icons battles where Greek Fire/Naphtha was used, Circular Icons are Naval Bases.
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  #146  
Old September 2nd, 2009, 03:33 PM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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Very interesting stuff. One quibble, please don't ever call the Romans "Greeks" again . If you have to distinguish them from the inhabitants of the city, at least called them Byzantines, or better still, Rhomaoi.
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  #147  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:21 PM
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Very interesting stuff. One quibble, please don't ever call the Romans "Greeks" again . If you have to distinguish them from the inhabitants of the city, at least called them Byzantines, or better still, Rhomaoi.
From the general POV I'm writing, they are viewed as Greeks. I'll stick with Byzantium when writing in "neutral" mode and on maps--rest assured though, they will never ever call themselves anything but Romans!

THE ROMAN WAR PART II 952-955

When the Spaniards attempted to push the Emperor out of Rome during his retreat a series of small skirmishes took place around the famous city, but when the Grand Duke launched a major assault, the Imperial forces held the city in a few days of bloody fighting. When reports that the siege of Catanzaro had been lifted and reinforcements were on their way north Maura withdrew.

The situation was saved from a waste when the Pope had seized on the confusion to escape and was received by the startled citizens of Pisa riding in to the city on a donkey. While a tremendous coup for the Spaniards, the pontiff's residency proved a problem. He ended up in a small Aarin city of Geneva close enough to Italy to react to developments, but far enough away to defend him. His religious and political designs frustrated the Emperor turned to more worldly affairs and after an abortive attempt on Florence, fortified Rome and focused his energies farther south.

Taranto and all Apulia was brought under Imperial control, Catanzaro was invested but held out and Reggio followed in 954 after the failure of a massive attack by land and sea. At Reggio, the Spaņan navy played a critical part. It kept open sea routes allowing fresh troops and supplies to land. This took great effort for while the use of Naphtha had taken the Emperor’s navy by surprise, they were wary now and neither side was able to win a decisive victory--though the Spaniards took somewhat the worst of it. Only the assistance provided by their Italian allies saved them from a slow defeat as their offensive actions largely consisted of raids on the Sicilian and occupied coastline.

The navy was of great concern to both Saavedra and Maura who were constantly in conflict over the use of it. Partly as a result of the animosity, by 955 Saavedra had improved the navy substantially by laying new ships keel first decreasing production time while increasing size and phasing in use of square sails along with lateens and even adopting certain innovations from the cogs. With the difficulties obtaining large amounts of timber, the increasing durability of the ships was an asset but only a few of these ships were available when the breaking point came at Reggio.

When the Emperor's sub-commander John Tornikes was ambushed south of Ancona, the Emperor resolved to end the stalemate in the south before turning north and launched a full assault of Reggio. The size of the assault could not be hidden and the race was whether the Emperor could supply men faster than the Spaniards. The new ships served as rallying points on the sea, allowing the smaller galleys to regroup around them. That Admiral Saavedra was able to land a major force near Reggio while holding off the Emperor's navy was surely one of the greatest feats of naval prowess in that century.

When the Siege of Reggio was over the Imperial forces were decimated in ships and men. The new ships with their more numerous and heavier engines had proved themselves in battle. With the Spaniards equally exhausted, Maura met with the Emperor on a ship in Reggio harbor.

By 956 a settlement was hammered out and Italy was shattered. Most of the south up to a line including Rome and Spoleto was ruled by the Emperor save Calabria, which had resisted conquest so stoutly. It was granted independence as the Principality of Calabria and created as a neutral state, inclining towards neither power and inviolate by both. Albenga ceded Corsica to Spaņa, but received dominion over Genoa and was incorporated into the Confederacy of the Aar. The delighted Albengans responded by systematically looting the Genoese of everything but their shirts and placing a strict toll on the amount of shipping that could put into that port at a fraction of Albenga’s own. Florence, Pisa, Ancona, Bologne and Ravenna were incorporated directly into the Kingdom of Spana. Finiravari[1] was given to the Principality of Reka. The remaining Italian states were organized into league centered on Padua and in "friendship" but not alliance with Spaņa. The Emperor was made Duke of Latium but refrained from demanding the Consulate transfer to him. There was no King of Italy.

So ended the First Roman War--neither side believed the unstable settlement would last. It didn’t.

__________________________________________

[1]Finiravari: Where the Avars were ended as a people by the Italian armies in around 900. The survivors either became Italians or joined the Pechengs in the north.

A/N: Consistent nomenclature from here out! It's the Kingdom of Spaņa, populated by Spaniards (rarely Spaņans), and defended by Spaņan military forces.
ED: Removed the map. The first is important because people can see where the cities are. We'll get a map of how it all shakes out when the Roman Wars end.
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  #148  
Old September 4th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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Really enjoying the war updates. One question, when did Ravenna fall to the Spaniards?
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  #149  
Old September 4th, 2009, 05:11 PM
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Really enjoying the war updates. One question, when did Ravenna fall to the Spaniards?
When John Tornikes attacked north along the coast he was threatening Ancona and Ravenna joined them out of self-preservation.

The Second Roman War 959-962

After the first settlement Ravenna and to a lesser extent Bologne resented their new overlords. The Pope in Geneva did his best to fan the flames of discontent while retaining plausible reliability--as far as he was concerned a Rome controlled by the Emperor was within shouting distance of heresy. Entreaties by both powers to the Emperor did nothing of course, but they found a fertile ear in Prince Andelko of Reka. Andelko had long resented his state being an Imperial appendage and when he came to power after the First Roman War, he looked to unite the slavic-speaking peoples of the Balkans.[1]

When Ravenna openly revolted in 958, Spaņan troops were sent to put down the uprising but found themselves confronting Rekan mercenary companies hired out at a discount. While Spaņa was fully engaged in pacifying Ravenna and investing troops in Bologne, Andelko invaded the eastern border of League of Padua and attacked Trieste which fell in 960. When Spaniard-Italian ships raided Rekan ports, the Emperor demanded Ravenna be granted membership in the League of Padua and that it become fully independent. When no response was forthcoming Imperial forces once again invaded Spaņan Italy.

Once again the heavily armored cataphracts of the Empire gave the Spaniards much difficulty. In the short period of peace the Spaniards had not been able to come up with a way to thwart them aside from delaying them with their own heavy horsemen. This was a costly proposition since the Spaniards tended to focus more on light cavalry--though the Second Roman War did see the issuing of the first greathelms to guard the face against injury in the cavalry charges which marked the Second Roman War. The one bright spot for the Spaniards was the navy. Pedro Saavedra was still the admiral and more of the new super-galleys were available. The added firepower was instrumental in holding off the Imperial naval forces, though they were unable to be active in the Adriatic and Ancona was taken in in 962.

Disaster was averted when Emperor Michael died unexpectedly. His nephew Leo V dropped the demand for the League of Padua to break their ties with the Spaniards. Intense negotiations continued and while Trieste remained in Rekan hands, the emperor gave assurances that he would reign in his ally in the future. A diplomatic coup was scored when the Emperor ceded Ancona to the Prince of Calabria in return for a mutual demilitarization of the peninsula by both himself and King Ortiz.

To almost universal astonishment, this was followed as garrisons and ships across Italy were withdrawn into secure territory (Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Ragusa). In fact, even Sicily was somewhat denuded of manpower.

The question that occupied the Spaniards and to a lesser extent the Aarins was why?

______________________________________


[1]Effectively OTLs South Slavic language group, the spread of which you can see below. Note: the Bulgarians also speak a South Slavic language, but are far more heavily Grecianized (is that the right word?) ITTL owing to the "Bulgarian" Dynasty so they don't think of themselves as Slavs much their region is developed enough that they are fairly loyal. The light color is a region where it is a minority language extending around the core lands (which is why Andelko went after Trieste). Also, in the Byzantine parts Greek is the language of administration but the various South Slavic languages are the birth speech.

ED: Hellenized works but not quite either as that recalls more classical Greek culture. I think I will be going with Rhomanized.
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  #150  
Old September 5th, 2009, 04:00 AM
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Grecianized
Hellenised, probably, is the right word. IMO of course.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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PART 1 of 2.

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Hellenised, probably, is the right word. IMO of course.
Probably going to go with Romanized since Hellenized harks back more to the classical Greeks. Anyhow, the following three (ed: two) posts will detail the history in the east and explain why Leo pulled out of Italy so fast.

A HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST c. 800-950 AD

HARUN AL-RASHID invaded Byzantium and met a canny, resourceful foe in Caesar Krum. Krum's son Alexander and daughter-in-law Theophano inaugurated the Bulgarian Dynasty, transforming it from a line of upstarts into one of the greatest. After Reza Azad (r. 829-851) took control of Persia, it enabled the still-new dynasty to win the civil war against Empress Marozia backed by the Caliphate and it's vassal Armenia. After a decisive encounter in western Anatolia, Alexander invaded Armenia in pursuit of the fleeing empress. It was this campaign that marked the rise of Basil.

As the Imperial couple looked for people they could trust, Basil stood out for his military prowess and quick mind. Born in Thrace, he had fought in the civil war and the western frontiers and upon learning he had spent time in Bulgaria proper, he was named as bodyguard to Alexander's sons, Peter and Theodore.

When Armenia was invaded, Basil was chosen to shepherd the two young men in their first command. The campaign took the form of repeated incursions into Armenia followed up by seizing key cities with Basil showing more skill and talent each time. It became clear that while both Theodore and Peter were able, Theodore's talents lay elsewhere. He was sent back to the capital where he spent his time on administration and the revision of the law codes—he never wanted to be emperor and openly supported his brother.

Peter evidenced distinct talent. Both he and Basil proved to be among the best commanders and rose in the ranks changing from friends to rivals. When Alexander died, they might have contended for the throne, but a suggestion from Theodore who was more distant from the politics and bad-feeling that characterized the relationship between Basil and Peter, carried the day. Basil was given money, loyal Greek soldiers from the western provinces and named King of Armenia, in vassalage to the Empire. A year later, the Caliph turned his armies against Basil.

Here he truly proved his mettle and united the factions surrounding his new domain. Persia and Byzantium both sent him aid against their mutual enemy and he formed an understanding with that sect known as the Paulicians. In return for being largely left alone, they provided a valuable buffer on certain parts of the border to the south and recaptured Antioch which was sent to the Emperor as a gift. Such was Basil's success that it was said that the Imperial borders in the east could be guarded by an old man, young boys or even a woman.
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  #152  
Old September 8th, 2009, 03:59 AM
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Interesting chaper that you've written. I'm worndering what happened to Harum since the rest of the bit that you've writtne concentrates on the Eastern Roman Empire.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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Part 2 of 2.

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Interesting chaper that you've written. I'm worndering what happened to Harum since the rest of the bit that you've writtne concentrates on the Eastern Roman Empire.
Harun did well, but not as well as IOTL. Not so good after him though.

A HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST c. 800-950 AD

Caliph Abd Ar-Rahim, (r. 822-834) the eldest son of Harun al-Rashid allowed the various diwans of the court to guide his thinking and was insulated from the people despite his father’s example. He allowed them to squander the funds and goodwill his father had built up. Relying on his functionaries meant he was unaware of his general Reza Azad becoming the power in Persia until it was too late. The charismatic general accused Abd Ar-Rahim of furthering his father’s policy of close association with the apostate line of Abd Ar-Rahman and established his authority as far as Mosul as the Abbasid Caliphate descended into civil war when Harun’s younger son Suleiman fought to depose his brother.

When Reza was overthrown by the Persian Agassids the chaos allowed the Abbasids to regroup under Suleiman’s son, Hisham. Hisham drove the Persians out of Baghdad in 876 and over the Zagros by 880 though an attempt against Armenia was thrown back by King John. To tip the balance, the Persians began to import Mamluks from the Turkic tribes who proved extremely useful against the Abbasids but slowly began to usurp the positions of power. After Hisham’s death in 889, the Caliphate began a process of decline being surrounded on all sides by enemies. In the west the Idrisids and later the Makanids were constantly encroaching eastwards and in the later case, resulted in the end of the alliance with Spaņa. To the north, Armenian and Kurdish attacks[1] had to be beaten off. But the greatest concern of the Abbasid Caliphate were the ancient heartlands of Islam and the Qarmatians.

Supposedly tracing their founding from an Ismaili community, the Qarmatians seized control of the Arabian coast subjugating Bahrain and the Ibadi imamate under cover of the Arab-Persian conflicts. Becoming hugely wealthy by controlling the trade routes east, their most famous act was a raid on Mecca itself in 930 where they seized the Black Stone. Only an immense ransom from the Abbasid Caliph gained its return and they were named Enemies of Islam but nothing could be done against them.

The Agassids were embroiled in a civil war brought on by a Mamluk attempt to seize the state and while the Shah barred Qarmatian leadership from setting foot on Persian soil that was the extent of his abilities. In the west, the Makanids seized on the ransom to show the Abbasids as decadent and profane as their Umayyad predecessors[2] and their own teachings began to gain credence in Egypt and the Levant.

Meanwhile, in Persia the Mamluks had been victorious. After consolidating their rule in the 950s, they launched a full-scale invasion westwards which succeeded in overwhelming the divided Armenian buffer[3] and brought about the settlement in the Second Roman War as the Empire was forced defend it’s long peaceful provinces of Anatolia once again.

___________________________________

[1]Kurdistan was created by the Persians in 920, taking advantage of the Kurdish independent streak
[2]Annoying the Spaniards and only assuaged by allowing them to recruit mercenaries in their lands which was a great help during the Roman Wars
[3]Under Basil and his son John, Armenia had seized control of a huge region, but ended up split into Kartliberia (the northern half) and Armenia each ruled by a grandson of John while the rest was retaken by the Persians and formed parts of Azerbaijan and Kurdistan.

A/N: Was actually going put another part in here but it doesn't really deal with the mid-east, mostly the Khazars and we'll get to them later. So the title is chanced from "Eastern Europe" to "South-East Europe."
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  #154  
Old September 8th, 2009, 10:26 AM
Basileus Giorgios Basileus Giorgios is offline
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Ah, so Basil the Macedonian becomes King of Armenia! I like it.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 12:42 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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A/N: Helpful genealogy chart attached!

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Originally Posted by Basileus Giorgios View Post
Ah, so Basil the Macedonian becomes King of Armenia! I like it.
AND Kartliberia (*Georgia)! Don't worry the line hasn't died out with the Turkish-led Persian attack.

THE WISE PART I: TOLEDO AD 965

Ortiz Araman, King of Spaņa, Lord of Iberia, the Maghreb and La Marca Francia[1] Consul of Rome was frustrated. He'd come from creating Enrique Najera as Count of Palma, grown in status as a crucial way point to the east. In attendance had been Enrique's cousins, Count Mustan and Duke Sancho with his young wife Mara the renegade Duchess from Amalfi[2] and Juan Saavedra, casting disgustingly speculative eyes at 11 year old Miren of Santander, Mustan‘s niece. A normal event save that deference to Ortiz was the bare minimum, more on the order of toleration.

After attaining his majority, Ortiz tried to assert himself but was blocked on account of the wars. Avoiding dissolution he used the time to study public administration, trade, and train himself martially but felt the invisible chains around him. He would have gone to his mother but after the initial burst of activity she retreated back to her lab swearing she was on the verge of a break through. When she died, he and Ramon plowed through her notes trying to make sense of her scribbling and the arrangement of jars, wires, and metal discs. He still didn't understand the vinegar or roll of the finest silk they could produce.[3] He ordered her rooms kept as they were though he knew no one who could follow her properly.

Ordering his horse saddled, he let it be known that he would ride to his retreat outside the city; his minders would be overjoyed to have him out from under foot for the day. His escort was only a handful of guards owing to his desire for privacy. With Ramon away his confidants were few and he knew several of his servants were in the pay of Halcona/Najera faction. The presence of the Zaragozans worried him: already rulers of Valencia, with the Najeras and Zaragozans a huge part of the Kingdom would be tied into their family. To make matters worse they were loaning money to the state to pay military expenses.

The Grand Duke sometimes listened for advancing age kept him confined to logistics. While his son Omar was certainly cool to them it was widely believed that Duke Sancho would be elevated to the position. It was Sancho who created the windlass crossbow that reduced volleys, but the way the bolts tore through armor argued for good results when the Kataphraktoi next took the field.

Even a peasant could see that Sancho would use Duchess Mara to re-ignite the war as soon as Fajad and his son could finish the roadway expansions. Once again men would be drawn from all over the Kingdom to die uselessly. Maybe it was his irrelevancy, but Ortiz could see that while Italy was a tempting target it was simply too far from Toledo and Constantinople to be ruled effectively.

As he left the suburbs of the city, he could see farmers with their claw-like cradles moving methodically back and forth among the grain and trench awnings. The country itself was prospering, experiencing a population boom according to census records, and while there was no shortage of manpower the compensation paid out to the widows of the fallen made up a frightening percentage of state outlays.

Ortiz sighed--at least he would be allowed to go with the trade mission to France instead of seething uselessly at home.

_____________________________________

[1]These are the 3 Countries (first level sub-divisions) of Spaņa.
[2]In Spaņa duke = General, but in Italy duke/duchess = hereditary ruler and has lost it's purely military component. Mara is the last surviving member of the Italian ruling family. He only was able to marry her because she lost everything.
[3]Spaņa has a small silk producing industry started in the 910s centered on Coimbra.

GENEALOGY TREE
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Old September 10th, 2009, 06:55 AM
G.Bone G.Bone is offline
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Looking interesting...I do like the early Kurdistan thing. If Saladin comes about...well - it's going to be interesting times there.

Is there much cross-mixing of Italian and Spanish culture now?
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Old September 11th, 2009, 08:03 PM
MNP MNP is offline
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With apologies to Azalais de Porcairagues

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Originally Posted by G.Bone View Post
Looking interesting...I do like the early Kurdistan thing. If Saladin comes about...well - it's going to be interesting times there.

Is there much cross-mixing of Italian and Spanish culture now?
There’s starting to be, but so far it’s limited. I’m still working out the specifics but we'll get to them later.

THE WISE PART II: TROBAIRITZ

Ortiz with Counts Mustan and Vicente of Barcelona arrived in Narbonne after taking ship from Tarragona.[1] With arrangements already in place with Marseilles and Nice, the third of the great French-influenced ports was eager to join them. The first day would be spent resting from the voyage and being entertained by the Viscount. The second would involve an inspection of the port itself and a meeting with the local merchants. There would be no French representative. The western areas of France were becoming increasingly autonomous as resources were deployed in the east. The combination of a child-Crown Prince and a succession dispute meant the negations would be held with the Viscounts.

When the second day dawned rainy, after leaving mass he sent word that he wished to see the Viscount’s daughter. He’d first noticed her at dinner the night before when she was arguing with her father quietly. A little discreet checking and a few silver dares on his part had provided him with the fascinating information that she was exceptionally good at the lyric poetry contests that were sweeping the region at the time and she would sometimes entertain in front of others. There were female poets in Spaņa of course, and he had discovered that a rather astonishing number of his clerks were female but to perform in public was rather scandalous--yet he heard the word Trobairitz spoken of her as a term of a endearment.

Lady Azalais came to him in her own home with her attendant as a chaperon. Ortiz debated whether to go to her as a courtesy but finally decided it was more appropriate to summon her. Dressed in a fashionably laced gown with and intricately designed cloth covering her hair, she was the embodiment of youthful energy[2] and to his relief her reputation was well earned. Azalais combined her poems with a faintly musical voice but what really made her work was the passion evidenced in every line. Accustomed to the starker maybe even cynical poetry of his home, he found her exuberance welcome. After the reading she brought out a five-string alude[3] on which she demonstrated considerable proficiency. While resting her fingers they spoke of aspects of her poetry and she answered without hesitation which he enjoyed.

Before Ortiz realized it he had spent a considerable amount of time with her and it would soon be dinner. Apologizing for taking up so much time he let them depart with a promise to return later in his visit and went to see if the meeting with the merchants was done. Mustan would doubtless attempt to complete the inner working of a deal himself and he needed to keep the count under his eye. He wondered for a moment if Lady Azalais could suggest someone to help him do that and decided to ask her.

*********

Azalais breathed deeply but the laces cut into her side and she broke off with a tiny gasp. “Was I presentable?” she demanded of Richildis.

“Barely. The laces made it too revealing, and your braids are never tame.”

Not hearing what she wanted, Azalais speared her a withering glance while pushing her fists against her middle to flog the butterflies. The water clock in the corner made a small chime. It was Spaņan of course, with that elaborate ornamentation everyone but her thought too heavy for personal chambers. “I am not my mother and we are not at dinner. She may have felt the need for shapeless tunics, but I am not being immodest!”

“As you say my lady,” Richildis sighed. Azalais watched her closely for an eye roll but she simply seated herself on the couch. The trouble was they were the same rank--it was hard to get lower than a Viscount without actually finding a maid and she had wanted someone capable of discussing her efforts with. She felt a momentary annoyance for Naomi. Her previous companion had in fact been a servant had been more learned than Azalais. But the nerve of her, to have dismissed the strength of noble protection after the Jewish quarter was fired. Truly everyone of those people could be as ungrateful and selfish as her father said.[4]

She started pacing back in forth finding the little spot on the rug where she always paced to calm her nerves. The most frightening thing was that she had not actually been nervous with the King of Spaņa! A little at first but soon she was speaking with him as easily as anyone else. That terrified her; she knew she would say something incredibly wrong without fear to restrain her--it was only a matter of time.

“Richildis? Re-braid please” she said when she paced past the mirror. Examining her brown braids one was loose enough to have fallen out and starting to come apart in what promised to be a wild fashion if she did not restrain it. Fortunately she had to sit down for Richildis to do so and she was approaching calm when a servant dropped off a note from the king addressed to her. She quickly scanned it. In the mirror she could see Richildis' eyes trying to come out of her head.

“The king wanted to know the names of some trusty people and if they would be adverse to doing a little more work for him in regards to his counts,” she explained. Spying she though. Saying it out loud like that, it was obvious though she'd missed it on first reading. He wants me to find him spies against his own people?

“He’s a king, he’s not going to remember you after he leaves no matter how pretty you play for him. Will you do what he wants just like that?”

“He is a king,” she said dryly.

“Not yours though,” Richildis countered. She did have a point there.

“I don’t know,” she finally said. “I guess I will have to think on it.”

__________________________________

[1]Re-founded as a Spaņan naval base to construct the larger keel-first ships.
[2]Cute, she’s cute. But the concept of cute wasn’t defined until the 1940s.
[3]Oud
[4]ITOL when the Crusades started they were a convenient excuse to pillage Jews. Azalais has simply absorbed that attitude without realizing it.
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  #158  
Old September 13th, 2009, 11:35 AM
MNP MNP is offline
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Sigh. Well I liked the story bit.

Selections from “Ortiz and Azalais: Dual Monarchy, Dual Biography Vol. 1”
by
Beatriz Maria Anna de Almagra
A Guacaipuro Caracas and Associates Book


Page 167: While Ortiz and Azalais met on a near daily basis in the manner described, a successful trade agreement was signed in Narbonne after several weeks. The negotiations were delayed several times when Ortiz wished to revised the document. Count Mustan's diary records his frustration that he was unable to discover how the king was able to keep track of the situation. He specifically mentions the meetings with Azalais as containing no information. From fragments of her poetry that have survived from her "Romantic Period" we can safely conclude Azalais planted information in her poetry as she did during the court intrigues revolving around the Saavedras in the 970s.

Page 204: We cannot know whether a relationship formed upon those meetings or whether Azalais was indulging in the romantic fantasy of a teenage girl. The letters exchanged after the visit are friendly in tone (see: Appendix B, L.12-17) and no textual analysis has shown them as anything else. Certainly by the visit to Zaragoza there were indications of the feelings between them however.

Page 220: While popular folklore credits her with the arrest (and eventual execution) of Mustan for tax fraud shortly after the Zaragoza visit, there is no support for the claim she uncovered the evidence that led to his fall. However we do have documentation (see: Appendix B, L.41) that it was Azalais who suggested to Ortiz the marriage of his cousin Dimas[1] to Fajad Al-Magrebi's elder daughter be the price of retaining Fajad's grandson Manzor as the ruler of Zaragoza. Of interest to the politically minded, this is the generally accepted date for the beginning of the rivalry between the Halcona and Almagra families.

Page 382
: Queen Azalais never participated in foreign policy, but the concern for the well being of the populace she showed upon her return from Rome in 971 has been consistently cited as the inspiration for the Womanhood movement and concept of the "political family" that would later become part of the Queen's Oath. Then-Commander Rolando of Iria's correspondence provides valuable documentation of her feelings and reactions to the ruins of the city, that Azalais apparently never set down on her own.

Page 385: Another example was her personal patronage of the Ben Meir in Granada. Upon returning to the capital she organized what has to be known as the first benefit concert on record and participated in it, performing several of her own original works. Of some interest to those with an inclination to musical history, the one work composed after her return from Rome for the concert has clear stepwise elements that she picked up in Italy and may be the first extant record we have of Plain Mozarabic notation.

Page 388: ...and while precise records as to results are unavailable, we know that the amount raised was substantial. That Azalais would personally fund a Jewish hospital in light of her earlier actions towards the Jewish communities in Barcelona and Tarragona is indicative of the effect the visit to Rome had on her. More specifically the contrast....

Page 529: We are fortunate that the letter Ortiz sent his queen on the eve of the Second Battle of Cannae was preserved. In contrast to the temperate, farsighted and cool-headed image resolutely projected in almost all the records we have of him including his personal correspondence, the letter indicates a man who dealt with self-doubt and drew strength and confidence from his relationship with his queen. While he rarely consulted her on political decisions not tied to an individual's temperament....

________________________________________
[1]Second Cousin once removed
I'm going to start previewing the contents of the next chapter when I can.
Next time: The Roman Wars resume and a famous "communicator" pops up.
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The Raptor of Spain #2.83 - Deceptive Appearances (Last Updated 19 Feb.)
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Last edited by MNP; September 16th, 2009 at 06:12 AM..
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  #159  
Old September 14th, 2009, 01:12 PM
Julius Vogel Julius Vogel is offline
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I liked the story bit!
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  #160  
Old September 14th, 2009, 11:10 PM
minifidel minifidel is offline
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Absolutely loving the TL! The story bits with Azalais were a lot of fun, and save for a few mistakes here and there, it's really well written. I hope you keep this up, it's honestly one of my favorite TLs ever, and so far the only one I've followed from the start
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