A Greater Dar al-Islam and an Ever Shrinking Dar al-Harb / a resurgent Islam TL

This is a very well-written TL. I can't critique it, because it covers a period I know little about. Ages ago (Back when dinosaurs walked the Earth and I didn't let "not knowing what I was talking about" stop me), I tried creating a TL where Europe was divided between Muslims in the south and Norse pagans in the north, with Ireland as the sole surviving Christian state. I wouldn't embarrass myself by posting it now, but I do wonder what Christianity would become in a world where it was at best tolerated and marginal.
 
Maybe modern day Europeans TTL will see Christianity as many in America see Buddhism: a quaint, exotic religion of peace.

This is a very well-written TL. I can't critique it, because it covers a period I know little about. Ages ago (Back when dinosaurs walked the Earth and I didn't let "not knowing what I was talking about" stop me), I tried creating a TL where Europe was divided between Muslims in the south and Norse pagans in the north, with Ireland as the sole surviving Christian state. I wouldn't embarrass myself by posting it now, but I do wonder what Christianity would become in a world where it was at best tolerated and marginal.
 
Would Christianity be perceived by TTL medieval historians as a continuation of the Eastern mystery cults that proliferated throughout the Roman Empire and later post-Roman Europe, only for the light of true religion to illuminate it? Assuming that Christianity is snuffed out as a majority religion in most parts of Europe.
Not really. There's still going to be a sizeable Christian population and some Christian countries in Europe. Furthermore I'm in agreement with the Bayt al-Hikmah mod, in that the Christian (and Jewish) population of the Middle East will be larger than OTL because the lack of powerful Christian countries means no Crusades and no European colonialism, which in turn means that the Christians and Jews there are seen as much less of a potential fifth column.
 
Not really. There's still going to be a sizeable Christian population and some Christian countries in Europe. Furthermore I'm in agreement with the Bayt al-Hikmah mod, in that the Christian (and Jewish) population of the Middle East will be larger than OTL because the lack of powerful Christian countries means no Crusades and no European colonialism, which in turn means that the Christians and Jews there are seen as much less of a potential fifth column.
Link to that mod buddy?

Still very unique answer, yeah in a way Muslim will not need to fear Dhimmi and specially as there two states(Faranj and Ruma) have sizable Nazarean populations, plus the effect of an islamic state just north of Rome and Vatican would be something cause a lot of butterflies, Nice answers buddy
 
Link to that mod buddy?

Still very unique answer, yeah in a way Muslim will not need to fear Dhimmi and specially as there two states(Faranj and Ruma) have sizable Nazarean populations, plus the effect of an islamic state just north of Rome and Vatican would be something cause a lot of butterflies, Nice answers buddy
Here is the mod's Reddit. Their PoD is the Muslims winning the Battle of Toulouse (721); the mod itself will start in 1909.
 
The Three Francias in the Early Viking Age
The Three Francias in the Early Viking Age

King Charles of Neustria died in 809 CE; the wound his brother had inflicted upon him continued to plague his health throughout the rest of his life. From his multiple wives and concubines Charles had many children, but only those from his marriage to Hildegard of Vinzgau were influential at court: Charles the Younger, Pippin, and Louis. Pippin the Hunchback, Charles’ eldest son from a previous marriage, attempted an abortive revolt against his father in 792 CE. As punishment Pippin was exiled to the Kingdom of Mercia.[1] Neustria had suffered from Viking raids during Charles’ reign. Punitive expeditions against Viking bases in Bretonnia always ended in failure as the Vikings’ Breton allies forewarned them of the Frankish approach. The only result of the expeditions was to strengthen the Bretons’ resolve and drive them closer to the Vikings. A more successful strategy was the fortification of bridges on the major rivers within Neustria. Even though the Vikings often dragged their ships overland to avoid the bridge forts, they were vulnerable while doing so. On occasion King Charles found it easier to simply bribe the Vikings to raid his relative’s realm of Austrasia instead, though they were sometimes reluctant to do so.

Charles was succeeded by Charles the Younger. The new king had proven himself to be a capable commander during his father’s campaigns against the Bretons and the Austrasians. The young Charles also represented the kingdom’s ties with England, due to his marriage to the Mercian princess Ælfflæd.[2] By Frankish tradition though, the elder Charles was obliged to divide his realm among his sons. While Charles the Younger became king and ruler of the northern parts of the kingdom, Pippin was granted Poitiers and the south, and to Louis was given Divio [Dijon] and the south-eastern frontier with the Alemannians. The three brothers were intelligent enough to know that a conflict between them would only benefit their enemies, thus they remained at peace with each other. That is not to say that they cooperated fully though. Louis, who had appropriated the title of Duke of Burgundy, refused to contribute funds to the fortification of bridges as he was unaffected by the Viking raids that so plagued his brothers. Charles and Pippin in turn gave only token support to Louis’ attempted invasion of Alemannia in 811 CE. However, when their Muslim cousin al-Qasim ibn Muhammad Qarulamun al-Qarula led a moderately-sized ghazwa north of the Dordogne in 816 CE, the three brothers hastily assembled their armies and rebuffed the invaders. Fearful of the caliphate’s retaliation, and ignorant of its growing decentralisation, the Christian Franks did not pursue their cousin back into his territory.

If the Neustrians had invaded the wilaya of al-Faranj, they may have been surprised at the ease of which they could have advanced, for the Qarulid power base was weak. The population of the province was comprised mostly of Gallo-Romans, Basques, and some Goths; the Frankish population was small, and that of the Muslim conquerors (the Arabs, Berbers, and Andalusian muwalladun) even smaller. The rate of conversion to Islam had been slow and most of the converts were Franks associated with Qarulid rule. In the eyes of the majority of the population, they were ruled over by Frankish invaders no different from those of the past. The wali’s military was a combination of previous forms of organisation; the ‘foreign’ Muslim settlers were paid regular wages like elsewhere in the Dar al-Islam. Due to the long distance and the consequent loose control of the caliphate over al-Faranj, the wages of the soldiers came from Rabat al-Faranj rather than Baghdad. On the other hand, most of the Franks were subject to the feudal practice of holding land, usually tax-free, in return for unpaid military service. Some of the less wealthy Franks agitated for inclusion in the salaried regular army, yet only a few were able to join the ranks due to opposition from the Andalusian settlers. As a consequence of these developments, the military of al-Faranj was small but generally loyal.

After the Vikings had started to settle in Bretonnia, their raids against the coast of al-Faranj began in earnest. They were however prevented from raiding further down the Garonne by the garrison of Mina al-Qamar [Bordeaux].[3] The Atlantic littoral trade routes were vital to the prosperity of Mina al-Qamar, and thus to the treasury of al-Faranj. To combat the Viking threat, wali al-Qasim ibn Muhammad Qarulamun al-Qarula discretely hired Arab shipwrights from Arbuna to build him a navy. Due to the disdain al-Qasim’s followers held towards naval affairs, most of the sailors were recruited from the experienced Basque fishing communities. The new navy of al-Faranj was given its first test in 822 CE when a small Viking fleet sailed up the Adour River and raided the town of Bayuna [Bayonne]. The Faranji navy was too slow to prevent the raid from occurring, but they did catch the Vikings on their northward return journey; battle ensued and the Faranji sailors gave an acceptable account of themselves. Some of the Viking crews chose the painful option of discarding their accrued loot in order to quicken their escape. The unwelcome surprise of a competent naval defence decreased the frequency of Viking raids for a time.

The Kingdom of Austrasia remained a bastion of safety against the Viking incursions. The Frisian navy, commanded by Eilrad and then Aldgisl, repulsed a number of Viking raids throughout the 790s and 800s CE. In 810 CE King Gudfred of the Danes organised an expedition to conquer Frisia, which he considered to rightfully be part of his realm. The fleet he gathered was much larger than the previous Viking excursions but the opposing Frisian navy was not only equal in size, but the Frisians had adopted the Scandinavian methods of shipbuilding over the years. In an epic naval battle King Gudfred was slain and his defeated host pursued back to Jutland; the Frisians were able to sack the commercial centre of Ribe and return home with considerable loot. From then on, raiders from the Scandinavian world learned to avoid Frisia and its defenders. Some Frisian warriors even made unsanctioned raids against Jutland; both Duke Aldgisl and King Lothair of Austrasia turned a blind eye, but ensured that their tax collectors were in place to take advantage of the new influx of wealth. With his coasts and rivers safe, Lothair was free to subjugate the Saxon tribes to his east. He was only partially successful in this endeavour, expanding his realm to the Weser by 819 CE. Christian missionary efforts were supported but Lothair remained cognisant of the ongoing difficulties in converting Frisia. The king was succeeded by his son Carloman the following year. The new king was keen to intensify the Christianisation efforts in Frisia and western Saxony but was dissuaded by the shrewd advice of his courtiers against the pleas of the clergy. In lieu of this, Carloman turned his sights to the as-yet independent Alemannians to the south.

[1] OTL he was just exiled to an abbey in Prum, but with a considerably smaller realm ITTL it would be likely that Pippin would be sent even further afield.
[2] OTL the marriage proposal failed because King Offa of Mercia also wanted Charlemagne’s daughter Bertha to marry prince Ecgfrith. Without his vast empire, Charlemagne ITTL would be much more of an equal to Offa.
[3] Mina al-Qamar = Port of the Moon, due to the river’s crescent-shaped bend as it passes through the city.
 
Even though al-Faranj and their Christian cousins are enemies, perhaps the Franji can make some sort of arrangement with the Christian Franks to capture Saxon and Danes and sell them in Franji markets as slaves. Imagine an army of Islamicized Norse ghulam.
 
Even though al-Faranj and their Christian cousins are enemies, perhaps the Franji can make some sort of arrangement with the Christian Franks to capture Saxon and Danes and sell them in Franji markets as slaves. Imagine an army of Islamicized Norse ghulam.
That sort of happened OTL anyway; Western Europe was one of the major sources of slaves in the Islamic world. ITTL, with the Islamic world expanding further to the north, Norse ghilman isn't that wild of an idea (the governor of Ruma al-Gharbiya is already building up a ghilman army of Slavs, Avars, and Germans, or Slavarmans if you will).
 
I'm expecting the Frisians to start raiding everyone along with the Vikings now that they've proven their naval dominance. This is going to be fun...
 
And the Frisians. They may in fact end up becoming the alt-Vikings.
I'm expecting the Frisians to start raiding everyone along with the Vikings now that they've proven their naval dominance. This is going to be fun...
Yeah as Teutonic say, the frisians are now empowered and they're not under full Austrasian control...meaning they could goes their own way soon, more headache for the frankish sucessors state in the future
 
Yeah as Teutonic say, the frisians are now empowered and they're not under full Austrasian control...meaning they could goes their own way soon, more headache for the frankish sucessors state in the future
I was thinking that the Austrasian king may give them a mandate to do it, instead.

Alt Normans more than alt Vikings, if that makes sense?
 
I was thinking that the Austrasian king may give them a mandate to do it, instead.

Alt Normans more than alt Vikings, if that makes sense?
Yeah that is a possibility, using frisian as irregular-pirates vs the other two frankish state...that will be fun
 
Frontiers of the Dar al-Islam in the Early Ninth Century CE
Frontiers of the Dar al-Islam in the Early Ninth Century CE

The Berber tribes of the Maghreb remained disunited and at odds with each other for the long period after Maysara al-Matghari’s death following the Berber Revolt. They were not however completely static. A group of Miknasa/Imeknasen Berbers opposed to al-Matghari’s Imamate, later known as the Banu Midrar, founded the town of Sijilmasa which grew wealthy off the trade with the south. As early as Uqba ibn Nafi al-Fihri’s conquests in the Maghreb (seventh and early eighth centuries CE), the Muslims had made contact with the Mande peoples of the Ghana empire to the south. The trade that was established survived the Berber Revolt and supplied the Dar al-Islam with immense quantities of gold, timber, and slaves. Ghana in return desired goods such as salt, horses, and camels. Muslim merchants, and their expertise, were much sought after by the Mande elites but they were prohibited from living in the Ghanaian capital of Kumbi Saleh itself. The two branches of the Trans-Saharan trade network were dominated respectively by the Lamtuna and the Guddala, tribes of the larger Sanhaja/Iznagen Berber confederacy, who did not hesitate to use force to ensure their mastery over trade.

In 792 CE a certain Hisham ibn Sulayman ibn Abd al-Rahman came to power in the Berber Nafza tribe, claiming to be the grandson of the martyred Umayyad pretender. During the Fourth Fitna the Nafza participated in a number of raids against Ifriqiya which failed to achieve any gains. As a result, Hisham ibn Sulayman was deposed after the Fitna but allowed to live out of respect for his ancestors. Instead the Nafza tribe looked for leadership from the new Banu Rustam movement based in Tahert. Abd al-Rahman ibn Rustam was an Ibadi agitator who had took part in a failed rebellion in Ifriqiya. Afterwards he relocated to Tahert where he was elected Imam in 776 CE; after his death in 788 CE, his son Abd al-Wahhab was elected to be the new Imam. Both Imams had focused on peacefully integrating the neighbouring Berber tribes by creating a durable, rightly-guided state. Their attempts to expand further however faced competition from Ismaili da’is preaching the imminent return of the Mahdi, Muhammad ibn Ismail. Some members of the Kutama/Iktamen tribe met with an Ismaili da’i while on hajj in Makkah; they were impressed with his clandestine proselytising and brought him back to the Maghreb where the rest of the Kutama were won to the Ismaili cause.[1] Meanwhile, other Berber tribes offered their service as mercenaries for the ongoing invasion of Roman Sikelia.

The wilaya of Fararud was perhaps the most important frontier of the Dar al-Islam. While al-Thughur al-Shamiya was the bulwark against the great ideological enemy of the Roman Empire, Fararud’s significance derived not only from its commanding position in the Silk Road trade network, but also as a defence against the nomadic Turkic tribes of the steppe. Under the direction of wali Yahya ibn Mu’adh ibn Muslim the abna al-dawla had integrated with the natives of the province to the extent that the former were no longer a distinguishable faction within local politics. Dhimmi tributary rulers like the pishin of Ushrusana and the khuda of Bukhara had converted to Islam and were officially appointed as governors of their ancestral realms. Yahya ibn Mu’adh ibn Muslim was succeeded by his son Ahmad in 822 CE. The new wali aimed to continue his father’s policies and, in so doing, fell under the influence of pishin Kawus ibn Kharakhuruh of Ushrusana. The murder of khalifah al-Qahir in the Baghdad riot of 824 CE immediately raised concerns among the newly-converted Iranian elites of the east that a caliphate-wide purge was imminent. Such a purge of course did not materialise, but Iranian immigration to the central Arab lands did decrease as a result.

Fararud’s frontier position also made it a location of constant ghazi activity. Many ghuzat travelled from all over the caliphate, but especially from Khurasan, to use Fararud as a staging post from which to launch raids against the dhimmi Turks. To the northwest were the Oghuz tribes, led by a yabghu. To the north and east were a confederation of Karluk, Yaghma, Chigil, and Tukhsi tribes; the Karluks were in command of the confederation. They had played an important role in Islamic history when they had defected to the Muslim side during the Battle of Talas in 751 CE against the Chinese Tang dynasty’s army. Regular ghazwas returned a steady influx of loot, arguably the most important of which was slaves. The Sogdians had already had experience of raiding the steppe for slave-soldiers, perhaps being the main influence behind the popularity of the practice among certain Islamic amirs such as khalifah al-Mu’tasim. Peaceful trade was also a source of slaves, produced from the regular inter-nomadic warfare. In the pre-Islamic era, Sogdian traders had established colonies within nomad-ruled territory. With the Islamic conquest of Fararud, Arabs and Iranians from the west entered the mercantile scene and thus Muslim communities appeared in the steppe. They were however in competition with the already present Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Manichaeans, and Zoroastrians. Following the merchants were, unsurprisingly, the clerical communities of the aforementioned denominations.

To the south of Fararud was a region which straddled the eastern marches of Khurasan and Sistan, and the frontier of al-Hind [India], dominated geographically by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Islamic armies had regularly entered the region to extract tribute from the dhimmi rulers but caliphal control of the region was practically non-existent. The region itself was ethnically and religiously heterogeneous: the Iranian, Indian, and Turkic population were adherents of unreformed Zoroastrianism (perhaps more accurately termed Indo-Iranian paganism), Hinduism, and Buddhism, in addition to smaller communities of Christians, Manichaeans, and Jews. Near the city of Bamiyan there were two massive statues of a Buddha, which drew pilgrims from across the Buddhist world and thus contributed to the flourishing trade in the region. The most powerful rulers of the region were the Kabul Shahi dynasty in Kabul and the Rutbils in Zamindawar; they were both of Turkic origin but the former patronised Buddhism while the latter patronised a god named Zun (perhaps cognate with the western Zurvan).[2] The less powerful lords around the Hindu Kush alternated frequently between Muslim suzerainty and Shahi suzerainty. Much like the nomadic steppe, this region was a prime target for ghazi raids, which comprised a combination of official state-sanctioned ghuzat and private mutatawwi’a (volunteer fighters). To the east of this frontier was Panchanada [Punjab]; the Kabul Shahi dynasty competed for influence over the small rajas of this region with the Karkota dynasty, which had suffered a long decline since the reign of Maharaja Lalitaditya Muktapida.

To the south of Panchanada lay the Shia Imamate of Sind. While the Pratihara kingdom fought the Rashtrakuta and Pala dynasties over Kanyakubja [Kannauj] and the Ganga [Ganges] valley, Imam Abu al-Hasan Muhammad and his son Husayn commanded armies against the rajas of Bhera, Shorkot, and Dipalpur. The rajas were defeated and, as had become common practice in the Imamate, were invested as governors of their territories. Emboldened by the successful conquests, the Imam led another army south in 813 CE against the Samma Rajputs who ruled Kachchh as feudatories to the Pratihara. The choice to conquer Kachchh was influenced by the raja-governor of Tharparkar, who belonged to the branch of Samma Rajputs who had remained in Sind after the Arab conquest and had since converted to Shi’ism. The army waited until after the monsoon season so that the Rann of Kachchh would be passable; the Samma Rajputs resisted but were no match for the Imam’s forces. Kachchh was brought under the governance of the raja of Tharparkar, for which he was eternally grateful to the Imam. Sind’s expansion was brought to a halt in 815 CE however when news arrived that the Pratihara ruler Nagabhata had conquered Kanyakubja and declared himself maharajadhiraja (great king of kings). After his conquests in the Ganga valley were secure, the victorious Pratihara king marched his army westwards to besiege Multan. Abu al-Hasan Muhammad gathered his army and met the Pratihara forces in battle outside the city; Nagabhata continued his victorious streak, forcing the Imam and his forces to retreat to al-Mansurah. Multan fell to the besiegers, was sacked, and the famous idol of the god Surya at the city’s equally famous temple was stolen by Nagabhata and taken to his new capital of Kanyakubja. The Imam’s legitimacy among his Hindu and Buddhist subjects was thus severely damaged.

The southwest of Arabiyya comprised the wilaya of al-Yaman, the traditional homeland of the Qahtan tribes who were now dispersed throughout the Dar al-Islam. The province suffered from regular disturbances and minor revolts by the local tribes which encouraged the central government in Baghdad to appoint outsiders as governors, usually Abbasid princes or members of the abna al-dawla. Geographically al-Yaman was split between the coastal lowlands and the central highlands, the latter being the region where most of the instability emanated from. On occasion the governors were even driven out of the province by rebels, and in 829 CE wali Abu al-Razi Muhammad ibn Abd al-Hamid was killed in battle by Ibrahim al-Manakhi ibn Abu Ja’far al-Himyari. The killing of the governor was enough to convince wazir Yahya ibn Abu Mansur to consider appointing a local tribal leader to oversee the province. Once again he clashed with the ghulam Itakh al-Khazari, who believed that dispatching an army of ghilman would be sufficient to put a stop to the constant rebellions. Wanting to maintain a balance at court, khalifah al-Mu’tasim sided with his ghulam even though Yahya ibn Abu Mansur’s strategy had prevailed in al-Sham. Bugha al-Kabir was appointed as the leader of the expedition and as the wali of al-Yaman; he was instructed to bring the province to heel by any means necessary. The ghilman army easily took control of the coastal lowland regions but the highlands, unsurprisingly, proved to be more of a challenge. Villages and towns which provided aid to the rebels were sacked and their populations massacred or driven out. Not only did this fuel the rebelliousness of the highlands, where the rebels consolidated their few fortified cities, but the displacement of the refugees to the coastal cities and the latter’s inability to manage also reignited rebellion there as well. Bugha al-Kabir saw no fault with his strategy and so continued on.

The Muslim invasion of Roman Sikelia continued apace after the peace agreement between Emperor Constantine VI and khalifah al-Hakim in 820 CE; Roman reinforcements under the command of the emperor’s twin Leo arrived in Syrakousai. Part of the Roman army under strategos Gregory regarrisoned the fortress of Ragusia, while the rest under Leo marched to nearby Motouka [Modica]. The Roman cavalry, commanded by tourmarkhes Euphemius, reconnoitred west toward Gela; the Muslims had fortified there and at Agrigentum. At the latter city, more reinforcements from Misr arrived regularly. Abu Zaki al-Kinani, who was still in overall command of the expedition, decided to continue focusing on the west of the island. To this end, an army was formed from the newly arriving soldiers, and they moved to besiege Mazara again. As the Muslims were besieging Mazara, Euphemius’ cavalry raided the villages around Gela and consistently were able to avoid sallies from the city’s garrison. Mazara finally fell to the Muslims and Abu Zaki al-Kinani, regretting his prior lenience at Agrigentum, ordered the surviving garrison to be enslaved. The nearby town of Lilybaeum [Marsala] sent a delegation to negotiate their surrender once they heard of the enslavement at Mazara. In the meantime, Leo had decided that Gela was vulnerable enough for a siege. This time the Muslim garrison remained firm, even after the Roman fleet arrived and defeated a Muslim fleet, after which it began to blockade the city. The city surrendered after a few months and most of the Muslim garrison were enslaved and dispatched back to Konstantinoupolis for Leo’s planned triumph.

The Roman resurgence was cut short however by a scandal at court in 823 CE. It was dramatically revealed that the identical twins Constantine and Leo regularly swapped places so that the emperor could engage his passion in womanising with the married ladies of the court. Besides the outrage this caused, it was only a short leap of the imagination from there to wonder whether Constantine was the one actually fighting in Sikelia. The twin at Gela was recalled to court to explain his actions; he complied but insisted on returning with most of the reinforcements that he had brought. Ultimately Leo, or at least the twin believed to be Leo, was castrated and exiled to a monastery. Emperor Constantine remained intact but it became clear that his power among the nobility, and definitely the clergy, had its limits; many at court were also loathe to send manpower to defend Sikelia at the expense of Mikra Asia. On the ground in Sikelia, strategos Gregory knew that his position in Gela was untenable, so he did his best to evacuate the populace and torch the city to the ground. Meanwhile, Abu Zaki al-Kinani had besieged and conquered Drepana [Trapani]. From there he moved on to besiege the well-fortified city of Panormus [Palermo]; the siege lasted for over a year and, once completed, secured the western half of the island for the Muslims. After the cautious re-occupation of Gela, the Muslims planned an offensive against Ragusia. However the pro-Abbasid coup in al-Sham in late 825 CE shocked the wali of Misr, inducing him to recall his troops from Sikelia in order to prepare for a potential invasion by the Abbasid Caliphate. With both the Muslim and Roman forces on the island drastically reduced in size, warfare settled into an almost choreographed phase of routine raids and sorties.

[1] This happened OTL as well but much later at the end of the century.
[2] As you can see, I’m leaning toward the side in the historiographical debate that Rutbil was a deformation of the Turkic title ilteber, rather than a misspelling of Zunbil.
 
Seems the Border are secure, except for the dynamic one with the romans but now muslim and them share the island of sicily...well one step at the time
 
The Muslims will have to step up the naval game if they want to solidify their hold on Sicily, I think.

Whether the Abbasids can reaffirm control of Misr will be pretty big too.
 
The Mixed Fortunes of Caliph al-Mu’tasim
The Mixed Fortunes of Caliph al-Mu’tasim

The succession of Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur to the position of wazir in 830 CE occurred without much fanfare; after all the position, while important, was nominally an administrative role that served at the discretion of the khalifah. Yet the size of the administration and its permanence throughout the various crises of the Abbasid Caliphate had given the position of wazir a power all of its own. Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur likely did not set out to strengthen his power when he began his tenure, nor did he likely see himself as more than a mere servant of the caliph. Personally austere and disdainful of court intrigue, Sa’id was also a keen astronomer, much like his father and grandfather before him. His view of the ordered heavens and celestial spheres was mirrored in his view of the Abbasid Caliphate, and so he developed a reputation of striving for efficiency in government. This attitude, along with his terse and stubborn nature, polarised opinion of him; Caliph al-Mu’tasim was one of those who fell into the category of intensely disliking the wazir.

The most pressing issue for Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur after his appointment was Bugha al-Kabir’s reign of terror in al-Yaman. The wilaya was important not only for its role in trade, but also due to its proximity to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. A large rebellion in al-Yaman, which now seemed certain, could easily spill over into the Hejaz. Without consulting the khalifah, Sa’id recalled Bugha al-Kabir to the capital; the ghulam complied without issue as he assumed the order was given by al-Mu’tasim. The caliph was furious with the wazir and publicly castigated him at court; privately though, and begrudgingly, he agreed with Sa’id’s assessment of Bugha al-Kabir’s conduct. Thinking himself to be sly, al-Mu’tasim appointed Musa ibn Yahya ibn Khalid al-Baramika of the once-dominant Barmakid family to be the new wali of al-Yaman. Unknown to many at court was the fact that the Barmakids and the Banu al-Munajjim had become allies early on in the latter family’s career. The wazir’s plans for al-Yaman could therefore continue unimpeded. Musa ibn Yahya immediately began negotiations with the rebel groups in the highlands which focused first on the repatriation of refugees; peace between the rebels and the government in Adan was a more drawn-out process.

In 831 CE Caliph al-Mu’tasim resumed the annual raiding of Roman territory after a hiatus of eleven years. Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur opposed the resumption of hostilities but recognised that the khalifah had to demonstrate his credentials as a competent military leader. That year al-Mu’tasim led an army to Seleukeia and besieged the city; the ghilman cavalry routed the local thematic army, allowing the rest of the Muslim army to sack the city without interruption. The caliph returned to Samarra and celebrated his victory with his ghilman. Buoyed by his success, al-Mu’tasim decided to force the wali of Misr to fully accept the authority of the khilafah. Unsurprisingly the wazir expressed his opposition to the venture in no uncertain terms, and cautioned that such a misstep could lead to a new fitna. Al-Mu’tasim sent a strongly-worded ultimatum to the wali, Abu Nasr ibn al-Sari al-Balkhi, but started assembling his army of ghilman and abna al-dawla before he even received a reply. The Misri governor knew that he would be unable to defeat the Abbasid invasion: while his fleet was powerful, he could only rely on his modest force of fellow abna al-dawla as Abbasid governance had done little to endear the original Arab settlers or the native Copts to foreign rule. As such, al-Balkhi surrendered to al-Mu’tasim when the latter’s army arrived at al-Fustat in late 831 CE. The former wali was arrested and escorted to Baghdad by most of the invading army. Al-Mu’tasim remained in al-Fustat to oversee the integration of Misr back into the caliphate, under the governance of the ghulam Abu Ja’far Ashinas.

Lacklustre revenues from Misr had been a feature of the wilaya even before the abna al-dawla’s quiet secession. This was due in part to poor administration rather than paucity of wealth, for the province was replete with the latter. The other primary drain on revenue was the salaries paid to the jund (army) which was comprised almost entirely of the original Qahtan Arab settlers. This was in spite of the fact that the local jund rarely saw active service outside of the province. The khalifah and Abu Ja’far Ashinas decided to not only increase existing taxes, but also introduce new ones. Discontent immediately flared across Misr and the pastoral Qays settlers of Misr al-Sufla [Lower Egypt] ceased their payment of all taxes. Al-Mu’tasim mobilised the remnant of the army he had brought with him as well as the Arab jund, and marched east to face the rebels. However, rumours that Abu Ja’far Ashinas planned to disestablish the jund (which turned out to be true) spread throughout the Arab soldiery, causing them to secretly reach an agreement with Qays rebels; upon the battle commencing, the jund would turn on the caliph’s forces.[1] The plan worked perfectly and many ghilman, including Ashinas, were slain in the battle; al-Mu’tasim only barely escaped and he and his fellow survivors were pursued back to al-Fustat where the now-combined Arab rebels besieged the city.

News of the rebellion swiftly reached Baghdad and Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur immediately ordered the remobilisation of the army; this time, the Iranian nobility were also raised. Due to the urgency of the crisis the army was exclusively composed of cavalry, which favoured the ghilman and dihqans over the abna al-dawla; a young Persian noble named al-Hasan Farrukhan ibn Manuchihr al-Sirafi was appointed to command the army by the wazir. The leaders among the ghilman and abna al-dawla grumbled but they knew that their cohorts had spectacularly failed to put down the rebellion or protect the caliph, so they refrained from protesting too loudly. The army rode with all haste to Misr and engaged the Arab rebels outside of Fustat; the Arabs were easily run off by the heavily armoured cavalry. A portion of the ghilman gave chase while al-Hasan Farrukhan ibn Manuchihr al-Sirafi entered the city in triumph; the parallel between this event and the Sasanian conquest of Misr during the last great war against the Romans was certainly not lost on the young Persian. Al-Sirafi introduced himself to Caliph al-Mu’tasim and informed the caliph that he was to be escorted back to Baghdad; sullen and embarrassed by his failure, al-Mu’tasim complied. Accompanying the relief army into Misr were Baghdadi bureaucrats with instructions to reinstate Abbasid control over the wilaya. They were to liaise with the local Arab notables and appoint a governor from among their number; ‘Amr ibn Ubayd Allah al-Tujibi, who had sympathised with the traitorous members of the jund but had refused to join them, was chosen as the new wali. He gave bay’ah to Caliph al-Mu’tasim and, with the aid of the Baghdadi bureaucrats, set about reforming the tax system in a way that wouldn’t cause outrage among the populace.

The conquest of Misr convinced wali Nasr ibn Hamza ibn Malik al-Khuza’i of Ifriqiya that the time for rebellion was over. Accordingly, he personally travelled to Baghdad to submit to the khalifah’s mercy; al-Mu’tasim was still put out by his fiasco in Misr and so left the decision to Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur. The wazir confirmed al-Khuza’i as governor in Ifriqiya and ordered him to return to his responsibilities, though he was accompanied by trusted abna al-dawla from Fars. Now that the western provinces had miraculously been recovered, the Abbasid government in Baghdad took stock of the Dar al-Islam’s situation. In Ruma al-Gharbiya, old age finally caught up to wali Harthama ibn A’yan in 829 CE and he was succeeded by his son Hatim; Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur had the investiture documents confirming the succession dispatched in 832 CE. Historians from the central Dar al-Islam lauded Harthama ibn A’yan, even comparing him to Abu Muslim. The assessment of native Muslim sources from Ruma al-Gharbiya were much more neutral however, owing to their affinity for al-Andalus and ibn A’yan’s establishment of a force of Saqaliba ghilman. In the neighbouring province of al-Andalus, Fihrid rule had remained mostly quiet and uneventful until a Basque rebellion in 819 CE resulted in the death of wali Ilyas ibn Muhammad al-Fihri. The ever-cautious Banu Fihr once again avoided fraternal conflict and elected Ilyas’ younger brother Habib in his place. By contrast, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad Qarulamun al-Qarula still governed the far reaches of the Dar al-Islam in al-Faranj.

[1] A similar event actually happened OTL in 784 CE, again due to stringent tax reforms.
 
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