Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

* The Low Countries: OTL, unity in this area was fostered by the Burgundian and Habsburg interlude, but with this TL's Geroldsecks concentrated in Swabia and Bohemia, the big mover in the Low Countries is Frederick III, Duke of Brabant and Count of Holland. Frederick's family - the House of Antwerp - is a cadet branch of the Reginarids and has been accumulating power steadily over the years, managing to unify a lot of smaller fiefs under their own rulership through both marriage and internecine warring. Marriage alliances have also ensured that Frederick has claims on Flanders, which is still a French territory, albeit one that tends to go its own way a lot. It's likely that Frederick's desire for Flanders will bring the Holy Roman Empire and France to blows at some point, a war France would struggle to win considering that the HRE is riding high right now. The dialect of German here is becoming very heavily influenced by Brabantine, earlier so than OTL, leading steadily towards a language with some vague similarities to Dutch but with more accusative forms and a few different phrases you wouldn't hear in the OTL Dutch language. What's also driving prosperity here is trade: The coastal cities in Brabant and Holland do brisk trade with the Nordic countries, especially Angland. At the moment, Antwerp is one of the most prosperous cities in the Holy Roman Empire, with a thriving and cosmopolitan mercantile class embracing new ideas about trade and travel. If any HRE colonization occurs, it is likely to be spearheaded by sailors out of Brabant.
Would Antwerp already be the leading city? OTL it only took off after Bruges' lost access to the sea. Did that follow as OTL?
 
Found myself wondering about the religion mechanics given Crusader Kings 3 is out and wonder what ITTL's version of CK3's on the religions/faiths would be. Andalusian culture would probably be put in Berber culture than Arabic at this point. Surprised that they used the eight pointed star to represent Ibadi and related sects/theological schools, probably due to Ibadi's start in Northern Africa.
 
* The Bataids: Actually the most ethnically diverse power on Earth right now. Islam is beginning to take root in conquered lands, though rather more slowly than it did in Iberia. Greek culture is proving fairly resilient, and even nearly 300 years after the fall of Constantinople, there is no Muslim majority in Hellas - something like 40% of Greeks have converted. The Bataids don't mind that, because the Greek lands are wealthy and the dhimmi tax is quite lucrative. Those Greeks who did convert are developing a distinctly Arabic and Persian-influenced form of Greek culture, one the Patzinaks are embracing elements of as well. Arabic is the language of state and religion, though Greek is commonly written in an Ajami script. Notably, a lot of Arabs, Persians and Berbers HATE the Bataids and view their rule as the captivity of the Caliphate by Turks and Greeks.
Not Janggala!?
 
I'm at a point where I feel like there are a million tiny details that I need to keep track of now as we move into the modern world.
No worries, this world is amazing because it's so vibrant and detailed. Keep up the good work!

The Low Countries:
  • Interesting that a noted figure like Frederick III is making moves to unify the Low Countries instead of the events that led to Habsburg domination of the Low Countries, which was the catalyst for rebellion and national unity for the Dutch. While he most likely won't be able to unify the entire region under a single ruler, he definitely planted the seeds of a new Dutch nation. Instead of William the Silent, Frederick III could be seen as the father figure of the Dutch people, like how Abd ar-Rahman I is for the Andalusi.
  • The Dutch being the spearhead of HRE colonization would make sense, given their experience in trade with the Nordics, and they might already have Andalusian-styled ships available to them by the 1480s-1500s. If the Emperor wanted to organize an expedition to the New World by the 16th century, it'll probably be headed by a Dutch captain and crewmen.
  • I wonder if the Dutch will be significantly more influenced by Andalusian culture than other Europeans due to their enthusiasm towards trade and learning, perhaps more so than other European powers. While the Romanians are a likely candidate of regular Christian-Muslim contact, the Dutch could also be another source, albeit much friendlier since they don't border each other and it's more likely for the HRE to have friendly relations with Al-Andalus against the Romanians.
  • Dutch traders traveling to Al-Andalus could provide a wacky tourist kind of perspective on the region, compared to the Romanians or the Anglish, who would be far more critical of them compared to the Dutch who could be more positive. It would be fun to see a Dutch Marco Polo or an Ibn Battuta like figure, commenting on the aspects of Al-Andalus, like:
    • Possible bisexuality of the upperclass and/or the Caliphs.
    • A more hedonistic culture compared to OTL Spain.
    • The huge libraries in Isbili or Qurtubah, containing Greco-Roman texts from Antiquity and the Middle Period, as well as those from Rumaniyah, Persia, Africa, China, India, and the Algarves.
    • Open coexistence amongst the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
    • Ethnic diversity due to the influx of peoples from the paler skinned Basques and Normandos to the darker skinned Tuareg Berbers and Zanj peoples.
    • Algarvian visitors and New World crops.
    • Sinophilia.
  • If the Nordics or the Romanians aren't the source of a potential Christian Renaissance, then the Dutch might just be the people to do it given their comparable or even greater wealth to Angland or Romania while also being able to disseminate translated Muslim texts and inventions, as well as Chinese porcelain, silks, and tea. Lastly, they might be a major nexus for the printing press, being able to spread knowledge across a far wider range.
France, Romania, and the HRE:
  • Poor France, being bullied by both Romania and the HRE. Still, a capable ruler could turn France's fortunes around by ACT IX against the both of them.
  • I wonder if France has similar claims to the Dauphine region as both the HRE and Romania have. While they're most likely weaker than either of them, an Andalusian alliance could turn the tables, especially against Romania, whose relations with the Andalusi have grown increasingly sour.
  • A Romanian-HRE war, while not the same as the Italian Wars with France and the HRE/Spain OTL, could still cause the Italians to become increasingly involved as Italy might become a new theater for the both of them, with Genoa, the Papal States, and Venice caught in the crossfire, as the unification of the Italian peninsula, the homeland of the Romans, might be of interest of both the HRE and the Romanians. It'll be interesting to see the reaction of the Asmarids if such a war breaks out. Such a quiet land might not be so quiet for long.
Ireland:
  • The situation with Ireland is markedly different from Scotland as the Scottish are more capable of throwing the Anglish yoke far better than the Irish can, especially on their own, given the Scottish were a formerly independent nation compared to the Irish and have more advantageous geography.
  • While there might not be a major Irish rebellion or a leader capable of leading the Irish against the Anglish at the moment, a Irish petty king or a peasant might rise up to the occasion, especially if things turn for the worse in Ireland due to the abuses of the Anglish government.
  • Al-Andalus would most likely support the Irish if convinced of its success, similar to how the French supported the Americans in their revolt, given their rivalry with the Anglish. The possibility of Christian Andalusi/Cross Moors working for both sides of the rebellion could also be an interesting source of stories to tell in ACT IX.
Bataids:
  • I thought that the Bataids wouldn't be Arabic/Persian influenced but I guess I was wrong. Although the Greeks/Romans aren't Persianate like the Ottomans, there is still a distinct Arabic/Persian flavor to them, which makes sense given their conversion to Islam.
  • Interesting that the Berbers also distinctly hate the Bataids, although it's probably not the Berbers that we're commonly thinking of, which are in the Maghreb. Instead, it might be those living in Egypt or in Libya to the east of the Asmarids/Nasrids.
 
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The Bataids: Actually the most ethnically diverse power on Earth right now. Islam is beginning to take root in conquered lands, though rather more slowly than it did in Iberia. Greek culture is proving fairly resilient, and even nearly 300 years after the fall of Constantinople, there is no Muslim majority in Hellas - something like 40% of Greeks have converted. The Bataids don't mind that, because the Greek lands are wealthy and the dhimmi tax is quite lucrative. Those Greeks who did convert are developing a distinctly Arabic and Persian-influenced form of Greek culture, one the Patzinaks are embracing elements of as well. Arabic is the language of state and religion, though Greek is commonly written in an Ajami script. Notably, a lot of Arabs, Persians and Berbers HATE the Bataids and view their rule as the captivity of the Caliphate by Turks and Greeks.
I'm just thinking now about it, the ethnic composition of the Balkans does have some considerable changes due to the happenstances ITTL, for once, instead of the tatars you have the pechenegs as the majority on the mouth of the Danube (and now with the new conquests on the Black Sea probably won't be long until they settle there), and since IOTL the northeastern areas of Bulgaria were mainly populated by ottoman-settled turks, i guess that it won't be much hard for you to have pecheneg majorities in similar areas, although the early pecheneg use of greek and bulgarian seamen probably will avoid pecheneg dominance on the coastal cities of Bulgaria (that happened during IOTL Ottoman Period), certainly there's significantly bigger greek populations on interior Thrace due to the avoidance of the Second Bulgarian Empire and the fact that you probably don't have the large-scale settlement of turkmen in the Balkans (unless during the pecheneg's rise and afterwards they adopted the practice of large-scale settlement of pecheneg tribes to ensure order, what might create some pockets of non-assimilated pecheneg populations around the main cities). For that matter, i would guess that bulgarian conversion into Islam is going considerably better numberwise than the greek one, since they have considerably more contact with the muslim pechenegs and are under pecheneg rule for somewhat longer (and more legitimate by that matter, since the pechenegs pretty much "inherited" Bulgaria).

Another interesting tidbit is the earlier mentioned mixing of the pechenegs with the vlachs/romanians, does it means that (at least those under Bataid rule) the vlachs turned muslim at least to some extent? I guess that Hungary pretty much converted/expelled any muslim vlach or pecheneg on its lands but i wouldn't be surprised if the locals in Moldavia still have some despise for the hungarians, especially because of the feudal nature of hungarian society vis-a-vis the more socially liberal nature of vlach-pecheneg society, what could be used to a good extent by the Bataids in any incoming wars with Hungary. Also, does any of the balkan regions host any significant number of muslim vlachs settled alongside the pechenegs during their move south? I would also guess that local vlach populations like the ancestors of the Aromanians would be coopted by the Bataids to prop their rule in the region. The Serb-Croatian subjects i expect to hold out as christians for longer (or even into present-day?) but i pretty much believe that the albanians are turning muslim as OTL, especially because the bataids must have propped some of the southern albanian tribes up as they expelled the normans from Epirus, what may result in a bigger southern albanian range as "compensation" for the (i guess) lack of significant albanian populations in Kosovo and Southern OTL Serbia (unless there was some serbian revolt that i don't remember about and they were settled there anyway).
 
I wonder what Bataid attire would be like given Hellenic influence yet Persian and Arabic influence.

I mean, I feel like short, Greek style hair cuts would be customary but at the same time most would be bearded.

I feel like the clothing would continue the “flowing” Byzantine style but likely among monarchs the diadem would get superseded by a large turban.

Less jewelry too and perhaps replacing that with clothing embroiled with silver (gold on men is haram in Islam.)

Less fur jackets, and trousers than the Ottomans probably
 
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/ottomans-repair-the-parthenon.495740/ Discussing this make me wonder if the Bataids would even goes further and refurbished all those athenian temple as mosques now
Seems highly likely that the Bataids would've turned the Parthenon into a mosque by now given how much the population in Hellas has converted and might've even restored it to a state far better than under the OTL Ottomans. Still, it's probably much simpler that they've turned some OTL Byzantine churches into mosques or built new ones under the lines of Roman architecture at the time.
 
Hm... Speaking of the Bataids.

I didn't... really understand their culture? I mean, I know they are 'Muslim Romans', but are they Greek? Turkmen? Some combination of the two?
 
Hm... Speaking of the Bataids.

I didn't... really understand their culture? I mean, I know they are 'Muslim Romans', but are they Greek? Turkmen? Some combination of the two?
Saya Aensland got it right that the Bataids themselves are Hellenized Pechenegs, but as a whole, the Roman Empire are still Greek, albeit not the same as the OTL Byzantine Empire.

I think there's a lot of Turkmen and Pecheneg influence as a result of the migrations and the eventual takeover of Hellas and Anatolia before the Bataids, but they're all Hellenized unlike OTL where the Turks became Persianized. Hats also mentioned considerable Arabic and Persian influence in the culture of the Bataid Empire, although I assume that much of the old Roman culture, bureaucracy, and government are maintained in the Empire.

Overall, I guess a good summary of the Roman culture during this period would be "Islamized Greek"?

Another thing to point out is how demographics of the Haemus Peninsula, Hellas, and Anatolia have changed a lot as a result of the butterflies. I think the biggest difference besides the existence of the Pechenegs is how we've butterflied away the Turkification of Anatolia and as a result, Anatolia has a large majority population of Muslim Anatolian Greeks, who still identify as Greek instead of Turk in the Empire. As a result, they've become the major power players over the Patzinaks, Turkmen, and especially Greeks in Hellas who are still Christian, and they'll probably continue to do so until the modern day.
 
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Hm... Speaking of the Bataids.

I didn't... really understand their culture? I mean, I know they are 'Muslim Romans', but are they Greek? Turkmen? Some combination of the two?
A long time ago, Hats mentioned how the Bataids are akin to the OTL Vallahades: Greek Muslims whom retain a lot of Greek culture and language to the point of calling out prayers in Greek.

ITTL, Bataid culture could follow along similar lines, with the Hellenized Pachenegs adopting Greek cultural aspects to the point of reciting prayers and duas in that language, instead of Arabic. Greek would be a lingua franca and be used in both public and private use. Fusion food is a definite in the empire, with the addition of rice and wine for those who are more relaxed. Moussaka mixed with Levantine ingredients and served with bread, olives and hummus could be on the average townsfolk's dinner table.

Mainland Greek clothing intermixed with foreign aspects could also be widely adopted among the peasantry, such as the case with historical Muslim Macedonian attire.

 
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might've even restored it to a state far better than under the OTL Ottomans
Then again, there's two sides to that- they probably won't feel the restraint of a modern conservationist and will most likely be "restoring" based on vague ideas of what they think it "should" look like as well as outright changing things to make it more impressive- imagine the Parthenon but with the pillars all covered in blue tiles like the ottomans added to the dome of the rock. It's almost like the "restoration" of the palace of Minos in Crete but even worse for archaeologists and may well lead to a decreased understanding of actual authentic classical Greek architecture ittl.
 
Then again, there's two sides to that- they probably won't feel the restraint of a modern conservationist and will most likely be "restoring" based on vague ideas of what they think it "should" look like as well as outright changing things to make it more impressive- imagine the Parthenon but with the pillars all covered in blue tiles like the ottomans added to the dome of the rock. It's almost like the "restoration" of the palace of Minos in Crete but even worse for archaeologists and may well lead to a decreased understanding of actual authentic classical Greek architecture ittl.
On one hand, sucks for archaeologists. On the other hand... It's probably impressive.
 
ACT VIII Appendix C: Culture and Society in the Otomi Alliance
As a supplemental, a look at culture in the Otomi Alliance right now.


The Otomi Alliance, like every polity in the New World, has had to grapple with the cultural impact of virgin-field pandemics killing most of their population. While the 95% figures of OTL weren't realized, largely due to the far lighter touch Andalusis and Berbers had on the region (as compared to the 90%-ish toll in Yukatan and the actual genocide of the indigenous population of Mawana), the Valley of Mexico lost something like 80% of its population to illnesses they had no concept of. Add to that the influx of Sufis, Moorish traders and kishafa, all of whom seem to be immune to the disease, and you have a recipe for people beginning to get the idea that something about these strangers is saving them from disease. Among the surviving peoples in the Valley of Mexico, conversion to Islam has been unusually rapid and vigorous, largely because even common people see it as protection from disease. It's broadly believed that embracing Islam means receiving the protection of God.

Together with the rapid spread of Islam, particularly among the upper classes, has been a trend towards Arabization of the elite. Indigenous languages - Otomi and various Nahuatl dialects - are still widely spoken among common people and in the hinterlands, though Ajami scripts exist for Otomi and Nahuatl. But increasingly, the upper echelons of society speak a dialect of Arabic influenced by the Andalusian form. The dialect is broadly classified as an early form of Nanyu Arabic - after the Arabization of the Otomi's name for their own language, Hnahnu. It's rather more musical-sounding than other forms of Arabic but otherwise shows its clear Iberian-Maghrebi influence.

The language has come with cultural Arabization. The Otomi ruling class have taken Arabic names and adopted fashions influenced by their overseas benefactors. The ruler of the Alliance calls himself the Emir and speaks Arabic, and the city known in Otomi as Dahnini - increasingly Arabized to "Danin" - has all the trappings of a typical Muslim city, including an impressive mosque that started life as a pagan temple and has since sprouted a minaret. A lot of Otomi trends have become blended into this Arabization: Arabo-Otomi people will often wear the sarape, often in bright colours. It's become increasingly in vogue for particular families to develop their own sarape patterns and pass them down. In that respect, a sarape is becoming something like a tartan, with each pattern tied in with a new cultural focus on genealogy. Some Otomi families are even beginning to forge Arab genealogies for themselves, not unlike how the Andalusis did.

More than a few pre-Islamic practices have survived, though. Even among devout Muslims, it's considered common to set out a candle on nights when the moon is full. A century or so after first contact with Islam, the meaning of this is starting to fade, but it originally started with the Sufist cult of the One and Only, which conflated Otomi beliefs about the Old Father and the moon goddess into Islamic frameworks. These were set out on full moon nights, when cult members would pray to the One and Only - a sort of symbolic recognition of the old figures of the past sanctifying the appeal to the higher power. These days, the One and Only cult is a very fringe thing with few adherents, but the lighting of candles and ceremonial fires still has great symbolic value even among Muslims in the region: It symbolizes warmth, renewal and new life.

Of course, there's also a large portion of the population consisting of Old World arrivals. The devastation wrought by virgin-field epidemics has allowed Andalusis, Berbers and Sudanis to make up a solid percentage of the population, even in comparatively small numbers. The three groups are much more orthodox in their worship and lifestyles than most Otomi, and many of them form part of the upper class. Andalusi merchants and courtiers, Berber soldiers and traders, Serer marabouts, Wolof mercenaries and others are easy to find here.

Also noteworthy is that there is no human sacrifice in the Otomi realm - at least outside of hinterland pagans who cling to the old ways. Officially, the Emir outlaws human sacrifice, and it's considered punishable by death. While the Otomi still prefer to capture enemies alive, they've adopted Arabo-Berber practices of slavery. Pagan slaves are growing quite common in the Otomi realm. While many of these folks are nomads or other semi-settled groups within the greater isthmus area, their susceptability to disease has resulted in the Otomi beginning to buy in slaves from the Sudan. Their slave economy isn't huge yet, but they're a customer for places like the NiKongo Emirate and the Islamizing states in the OTL Bight of Benin.

The Alliance - in fact increasingly just an Otomi hegemony - has a few economic benefits growing for it. One of their biggest cards is that they're the world's leading source of vanilla. No one's figured out how to grow it satisfactorily outside of Anawak's climate conditions, so the Otomi remain basically the only ones with access to vanilla. This works great for them because it's becoming popular overseas back in Al-Andalus and the Maghreb. The Otomi have shouldered in on the former Totonac monopoly over the crop, as have enterprising Andalusis. If you're a vanilla farmer in the Otomi lands, you've got a cash crop that's in huge demand. Kakaw is also exported, but it's easier to grow abroad, so the Otomi don't benefit from a monopoly on it anymore. Incidentally, a lot of slaves coming into Anawak end up going to work on vanilla plantations: Farming vanilla is very labour-intensive, which is part of why it costs so much.
 
Interesting. So the earlier discussion regarding slave-trading in the region does follow into the MiaJ-verse. Society is greatly weakened but not collapsed, and there is enough of a social contract/protection through Islam (however distorted) to prevent the massive Terminal Classic Maya slave-system. There are those slaves taken from the hinterlands or through battles, but with an increasing trend for buying them via the Sudan.

There will be some weird cultural mixing among them, no doubt, and perhaps an underground Islamic-Candomblé movement may spring from the syncretism of Afro-Algravian faiths.
 
The Otomi ruling class have taken Arabic names and adopted fashions influenced by their overseas benefactors. The ruler of the Alliance calls himself the Emir and speaks Arabic, and the city known in Otomi as Dahnini - increasingly Arabized to "Danin" - has all the trappings of a typical Muslim city, including an impressive mosque that started life as a pagan temple and has since sprouted a minaret.
I wonder if Dahnini-Xaltocan, or Danin is similar to Tenochtitlan in terms of city planning, consisting of a series of smaller islands connected by canals, bridges, and causeways. If that's the case, we might get people from the Old World to call it the "Isbili of the Algarves" or the "Venice of Alasca" due to its beauty.

Of course, there's also a large portion of the population consisting of Old World arrivals. The devastation wrought by virgin-field epidemics has allowed Andalusis, Berbers and Sudanis to make up a solid percentage of the population, even in comparatively small numbers. The three groups are much more orthodox in their worship and lifestyles than most Otomi, and many of them form part of the upper class. Andalusi merchants and courtiers, Berber soldiers and traders, Serer marabouts, Wolof mercenaries and others are easy to find here.
So there's a small amount of Old World immigrants that have come to Anawak, although that might massively increase due to the Otomi Hajj attracting the attention of those in Dar al-Islam. With these new immigrants mingling with the Native population, we could see an entirely new mixed population native to the Algarves that practices Arabo-Otomi culture, similar to OTL Mestizos that adopted parts of both Native and Spanish culture into a new cultural identity. It'll be interesting to how Anawak develops culturally through the centuries, although it might be similar to how Mexico developed OTL.

While the Otomi still prefer to capture enemies alive, they've adopted Arabo-Berber practices of slavery. Pagan slaves are growing quite common in the Otomi realm. While many of these folks are nomads or other semi-settled groups within the greater isthmus area, their susceptability to disease has resulted in the Otomi beginning to buy in slaves from the Sudan. Their slave economy isn't huge yet, but they're a customer for places like the NiKongo Emirate and the Islamizing states in the OTL Bight of Benin.
Like what Al-numbers said, quite a lot of our discussions of slavery in MiaJ have rung true, with the Otomi enslaving pagans from minor settlements or from nomadic groups, although they're more likely to buy Zanj slaves from traders coming from the Sudan. With cash crops like chocolate and vanilla in insanely high demand, we will probably see large plantations similar in vein to the haciendas or latifundia controlled by native or mixed cash crop barons.

I'm still willing to bet my chances on seeing European slaves eventually make their way to Anawak, either through piracy on the Anglish colonies or from trade with the Romans from the East, although they will be a small minority compared to the Sudani slaves that would make up a huge majority of slave labor. If such a thing does happen, we could potentially add Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox beliefs into the mix, alongside African paganism, Algarvian paganism, and Islam into some weird Algarvian religion that is shared by an enslaved class of people separate from the freedmen who practice Abrahamic religions.

Another thing to note is the possible fate of the Mexica, because they're one of the few pagan polities that remain in the region. With the Otomi Alliance growing in power militarily due to changes in military doctrine, standardization of their equipment, and integration of Old World animals like horses for cavalry or oxen for supply trains, they could eye the small Kingdom with increasing hunger, mainly for land and a large population of pagan slaves. It would be a very sad reversal of fortunes for the Mexica if they were conquered, for they were conquerors and overlords in our timeline, only to end up being enslaved in MiaJ.
 
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ncidentally, a lot of slaves coming into Anawak end up going to work on vanilla plantations: Farming vanilla is very labour-intensive, which is part of why it costs so much.
Wonder when they realize the climated is good for sugar and tobacco.... yeah Vanilla is the OG Cash crop for the otomi, those start their latifundia would become the tycoon of the algraves very early.
 
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