Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

The Romanians were rather more interested in applying new mathematical insights to traditional Roman styles they were beginning to rediscover.
Something that's interesting is the fact that the renascence did not happen in this timeline, which means that in this timeline, there might be stuff that we know about the old Greco-roman world in otl, but this timeline do not and vice versa, and that could lead to some interesting results.

[4] No Norman conquest of Sicily + no Crusades + no Reconquista = less cotton for Europe.
This is interesting because this means that Christian Europe is going to have less access to making cotton, which is going to lead to an interesting dynamic in Christian Europe that does not exist in otl, especially since cotton becomes massive in Europe in otl. I could see Romania being kingpin since it has the secret to making cotton in Christian Europe as well.
 
Cotton's not king yet, no. We're a ways away from the cotton gin making mass cotton production easier.
Phew, although I still think the cotton gin would be common in India at the very least since it was developed in India as a hand-powered machine before Eli Whitney's design improved on its efficiency.

Indian_woman_gining_cotton.jpg

(Image source: Wikimedia)

Education's more of an urban thing, but as the printing press spreads, more cities have more schools...[SNIP]
A fair assessment on the current state of education in the Islamic/Christian world, but I reckon Sinophilia could elevate it even further by providing a bureaucratic/standardized structure to learning on top of tests/exams, which would be a huge boon.

Something that's interesting is the fact that the renascence did not happen in this timeline, which means that in this timeline, there might be stuff that we know about the old Greco-roman world in otl, but this timeline do not and vice versa, and that could lead to some interesting results.
I think it's starting to happen in a subtle manner (the Romanians are relearning Roman-era architecture and texts) but it's overshadowed by the Blossoming advancing technology and science from across the globe.

Very likely a Romanian, Italian, or a Meridian will discover ancient Roman/Greek texts like Cicero, Cato, or Tacitus for themselves but it isn't as flashy since both the Christians and Muslims have access to the majority of supposedly lost antiquity texts already.

This is interesting because this means that Christian Europe is going to have less access to making cotton, which is going to lead to an interesting dynamic in Christian Europe that does not exist in otl, especially since cotton becomes massive in Europe in otl. I could see Romania being kingpin since it has the secret to making cotton in Christian Europe as well.
With less cotton, I think it's likely that the use of cotton will be divided among northern/southern lines with southern regions depending more on cotton whereas northern regions depend on wool.
 
With less cotton, I think it's likely that the use of cotton will be divided among northern/southern lines with southern regions depending more on cotton whereas northern regions depend on wool.
This is probably going to bite the southern European states in the back like otl Cotten countries, if not worse.

Another thing is that I suspect in the future that the heavy slavery states of the Caribbean are going to rebel and lead to what is basically a Muslim CSA but in the Caribbean instead of the south.
 
"Leave me," the Caliph said to the handler of his wardrobe.

The blond Siqlabi, unmanned and delicate, bowed with hands folded, the robes and finery of the Caliph bundled in his arms. Wordless, Fatin took his leave, and left the bathhouse empty save for the lord of the land, and the soft, soothing sound of water lapping against polished marble.

Abd ar-Rahman stepped down the polished stairs, past one of the soaring horseshoe arches with marble aglitter in snowy white and lush red. The steaming water wrapped around him inch by inch, like a loving hand. He sunk deep into it, letting dark hair fan out across its surface, letting the water soak into his beard. The Caliph closed his eyes and lowered himself to a seat, reclining and tilting back his head as though in a rest.

The days had exhausted him - all the pomp and circumstance of the return of that fool Hayyan from the Sardinian island. Abd ar-Rahman had spent the ensuing weeks seething privately. The triumph had belonged too much to his brother, and not to him, the Commander of the Faithful who had made that battle possible. Only the younger brother's oath of loyalty sated him, and even then only somewhat.

He had found peace only in the baths, in the lonely moments of rest - and in the raising of his little son Hisham, then but four.

Languorously, he pushed his hair back and let the water spill through it, as if it could wash away the worries - the fear that the mob exalted another more than him. It couldn't be true, after all. None had opposed him when he came to power. And none would question him now. They couldn't.

For a time he lay there, lost in his thoughts. They dwelled mostly on the women of his harem, on the riches brought back by the army from Sardinia, on the pleasures of his office, occasionally on the stacks of dinars in the treasury, balanced with such care. His mind wandered, only the soft lap of the steaming water to keep him company.

A feather-light touch moved across his hair. Abd ar-Rahman let out a low sigh, smiling with contentment. His beloved Habab, no doubt - the mother of his son, the pretty young golden-haired girl he had chosen from the slave market, captivated by the breathtaking green of her eyes. He tilted his head into that soft brush of fingertips as they traced down his cheek, along to the side of his neck.

And then it occurred to him that this was the men's bathhouse.

His eyes flew open just as the touch on his neck tightened, choking off his gasp. The glimpse he caught was fleeting - a tall man with long blond hair and hard dark eyes. Ragad, his father's plaything.

Abd ar-Rahman attempted to force out a protest. It was lost in a gurgle of water as a strong hand gripped his hair and pushed him down. The water swallowed him up. Bubbles poured from his mouth. He thrashed against the strength of the big man, to no avail. Silent, his free hand trapping the Caliph's free arm, Ragad pressed down to the back of Abd ar-Rahman's head.

He tried to scream. Only a stream of bubbles and a choked gurgle spilled from him. Then again. He threw his weight against Ragad's; the bigger man merely pushed the Caliph's shoulder into the marble and shoved him to the bottom of the pool. His lungs screamed for relief. He couldn't dare to breathe. He couldn't dare.

He couldn't-- he couldn't dare.

He must.


He breathed. The water poured through him.


~


Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)


Now some few weeks had passed since the return of Hayyan from Sardinia when the conspirators against the Caliph began to whisper of their urgency, and they moved swiftly to meet in the shadows, A'isha and Ragad in league with some diverse others whose names are lost to rumour. And A'isha said to Ragad, "I tire of the sight of my accursed brother seeking glory only for himself. The time is nigh to see his end."

And Ragad said to her, "Truly, say the word, and it shall be done."

And A'isha said to Ragad, "The word is given; let the days of my accursed brother expire upon the morrow!"

So blessed in his mission, did Ragad go into the baths of Madinat az-Zahra, and there did encounter the Caliph Abd ar-Rahman, and did force him beneath the waters of the bath until he breathed no more. Now he departed swiftly from that place, and awaited the master of the wardrobe Fatin to chance upon his lord. And the good eunuch did enter the baths, and find the corpse of Abd ar-Rahman floating without life, and he rent his clothes and cried out, "Woe! Woe! The Caliph is dead! The Caliph is dead!"

Now a lament rose among some number of the court, among the Berbers who had been brought there by Abd ar-Rahman as his personal guard, but among many others, of the old families and of the Saqaliba, there was private rejoicing behind the facades of grief, for few had loved Abd ar-Rahman, and thought him distant and cruel, and unloved he was among those of the nobility. And some in the court proposed to place upon the throne the infant Hisham, the lone son of Abd ar-Rahman, then about five. But these entreaties were put off for a time, and some at the court spoke instead of elevating Hayyan the brother of Abd ar-Rahman, then thought a great hero for his actions in the Sardinian isle. Now the conspirators, A'isha and Ragad, did lay low, and listened to the counsel of those around them, and chose not to speak to their chosen candidate, for fear of revealing themselves.

Yet that eve went al-Azraq ibn Hisham II to his brother Hayyan, and found him in the deepest mourning, for though the two brothers had never loved Abd ar-Rahman, also did they lament the passage of one of their blood. And al-Azraq said to his brother, "My brother, I have come to understand a great tragedy. For on the morning of this day I, and one of the palace eunuchs with me, did behold Ragad the favourite of our father going even into the baths, and there he took our brother's life, and returned he to the palace and met with none other than our sister A'isha."

"What is this you say?" bespake Hayyan in horror. "To slay our brother -- how could our sister dream of this?"

And bespake al-Azraq, "Surely you have understood the coldness with which he treated her, as you and I. Now they should seek to ingratiate themselves to you, and install a caliph of their choosing, and play at the strings of the caliphal power from the shadows."

And Hayyan was sore wroth, and said to his brother, "Though I had surrendered my ambition to the caliphal power, what would it say of me to allow some murderous conspirator to whisper from the darkness into the ear of a Commander of the Faithful who cannot command?"

Thus it was that al-Azraq came to the court at the dawning of the day, and spake unto the nobles there, and made passionate cause for the appointment of Hayyan, and said unto them: "Friends, noble men! Let us not be taken in by some conspiracy, or once more grant the greatest power to one who may be manipulated from behind the throne by some regent or protector. We press the jihad against the Sardinian, and lo, the Christian haunts our border, and masses to war against us! Will mighty God send us a mere child when He has already chosen a warrior who will conquer the enemies of our land?" And he placed in nomination the name of Hayyan, and brought forth the eunuch Fatin, the master of the wardrobe, who made claim that Ragad had been the slayer of Abd ar-Rahman.

A great hue and cry rose from the court, and Ragad was hurled into chains, and his head struck from his shoulders, and A'isha hurled into the gaol. And the greater whole of the noble men of the Andalus cried out as one: "Let it be Hayyan! Let Hayyan defend us!" And with head bowed did Hayyan ascend upon the Caliphal throne of the twenty and first day of the first Jumada of 412,[1] and he took the laqab by which all men would come to know him: al-Muntasir-billah.[2]



~


The rush of it all had passed. The nobles had left the throne room, leaving Hayyan al-Muntasir guarded only by the men outside the door, and by al-Azraq, his brother. He fussed with the drape of the caliphal robes. They felt far heavier than they looked, somehow, even after he had given up thought of ever wearing them.

The spark of anger still burned within him, mixed with an overwhelmed shock. With a sigh and a shaking of his head, curled blonde beard swaying with the movement, he turned away for a moment to look to al-Azraq, the younger man standing beside the dais. "This seems so unbelievable," he muttered. "I would never have thought A'isha to be the sort to do this. And now our brother is dead. How could this happen?"

In the low light streaming through the windows, al-Azraq lowered his eyelids slightly. Deep shadows danced across the delicate lines of almost delicately beautiful features, pristine behind the pale blond of his beard. Sparks seemed to dance in the icy blue of his eyes. "People are capable of much, my brother," he murmured as he took a slow step forward, silk robes rustling about his limbs. "But that is hardly the issue anymore. Now you are here, and I shall be with you."

Hayyan felt the beginnings of a frown creasing his face as he looked upon his brother gravely. A thought ate at him.

"Help me understand this," he said, his deepish voice quieting. "Because I have been thinking about it. How Ragad could ever have gotten into the baths alone with Abd ar-Rahman in the first place, when Fatin should have been with him. And now you tell me Fatin is with you, and saw all of this."

The younger brother just smiled a small, serene sort of smile. "Are you asking me if I knew?"

With a sudden scowl, Hayyan strode towards his younger and more brilliant brother with a sudden burst of purpose, and reached out to grasp him by his robes, pulling him brusquely close. "You did know, didn't you? You were part of the plot all along! Is this all some setup? Am I to die next to clear the way for you?"

The smile on al-Azraq's face didn't so much as waver, his eyes twinkling with suppressed mirth. "Oh, please," he laughed. "I don't want to be Caliph. Our father loved to learn. I'm our father's son. You are the one who inspires everyone, with your charms and your warrior's ways. I'm merely here to help you along."

"So you did arrange this," Hayyan snarled as a surge of fury begin to build in the pit of his stomach. "You knew, and you wanted this to happen. I ought to throw you in the pit right this instant!"

"But you shan't," al-Azraq pointed out with an infuriating little smirk. "Because you need me."

"Surely you jest," Hayyan bit back.

Unruffled, al-Azraq batted his long lashes across his eyes. "Very well, then, dear Caliph. Do you know exactly how many men we can raise from the junds at any given moment?"

Hayyan blinked rapidly at the question. He furrowed his brows.

Al-Azraq pressed on. "Do you know how many dinars are in the royal treasury, and how many will arrive in the span of the year?

"Do you know how many dinars the average burgher of the cities can spare?

"Do you know how much grain is needed to feed the city of Córdoba?

"Do you know how much actual gold is in the coinage these days?

"Do you know who the present bishops and the rabbis of the dhimmi are, and what their people are saying of you?

"Do you know what a balanced budget is?"

Peppered by questions, Hayyan just stared at his brother in utter bafflement.

The smirk al-Azraq hit him with was equal parts soothing and infuriating. "Exactly," he murmured as he lifted his slender hands to Hayyan's strong ones, and with a delicate touch, released them, and let his soft-shod feet hit the ground with a tap. "I am not here to replace you. You go on forth and command the faithful, great al-Muntasir." He closed his eyes and bow his head. "Go and command, and leave the rest to your trusty hajib."

"But I haven't appointed one of those," Hayyan managed, suddenly feeling horribly off-balance.

"You have now," al-Azraq answered with a cheeky laugh.


~


END OF ACT I
[3]​




[1] February 9, 1021.
[2] He who triumphs in God. There was an Abbasid caliph of the same moniker.
[3] Al-Muntasir comes to the throne - through the intrigues of his powerful hajib, al-Azraq - embroiled in a conflict in Sardinia, with Aquitaine-Navarre beginning to come together in the north, and with an uncertain situation sure to crop up in the Maghreb given that al-Mu'izz ibn Ziri was a friend to the slain Abd ar-Rahman IV. We're going to get into that soon enough, but we're also nearly 50 years out from the POD and I've neglected to touch on what's going on elsewhere in the world. Before I go into the al-Muntasir story, I'm going to pull back a bit to take a trip around the Mediterranean and into the North Sea and visit a lot of the areas I've skirted over thus far, among them the Holy Roman Empire, the Fatimids, the Byzantine Empire, the Papacy and Italy more broadly, and possibly Rus' and parts of Africa. Our first stop, however, will be England. Stay tuned.
What the fuck is this story. İ didn't understand anything
 
Maybe he didn't liked the sex scenes?
What sex scenes? I really doubt we ever got to see one even in early MiaJ with Hisham and Hayyan; both are rather prudish despite having multiple kids.

Compared to Andreas and Maria/Kristina in An Age of Miracles, none of the Umayyads or the ruling families/nobility ever showed the same amount of sauciness in the thread, which is kinda sad but I can totally understand if Hats does not want to go there.

To be honest, the poster might simply be uninterested in the story despite their rude response, which is fine. People gravitate towards different timelines/stories in the forum for many reasons.
 
Very likely a Romanian, Italian, or a Meridian will discover ancient Roman/Greek texts like Cicero, Cato, or Tacitus for themselves but it isn't as flashy since both the Christians and Muslims have access to the majority of supposedly lost antiquity texts already.
I wonder how the production of Latin texts ittl compares to otl- The majority of otls Latin literature was written post 1400, and it remained the premier literary language even in places that went protestant, so I doubt vulgarity would really affect it. Especially with Romania having different romance languages that can't really replace each other, I could see neo Latin being at least just as strong as OTL. The wildcard for me is the Bataid realms- the possibility of *Eastern Romance speakers maintaining and participating in wider European Latin culture, whether or not it's supported by the state, is too tantalising to ignore. As far as I'm aware we still have no idea what the ethno linguistic makeup of the Balkans looks like.

Also the last update talked about the standardisation of andalusí Arabic which is!!!!!!!! A competing standard of Arabic????? In places where spellings differ from Quranic, how far are people willing to take it??

It'd be cool to have an Al Aqsan Alcuin of York parallel- native speakers just accept that sometimes spelling isn't how you say a word, it's the people that learn it as a second language that get confused and want the two to match.
Otl what happened with romance was that everyone thought they were speaking Latin, until the west Frankish chancellery started standardising the spellings to better fit the phonetics of what they were saying, and people started realising that the spelling reforms that were spreading weren't equally as applicable everywhere and that was a major catalyst in causing people to think of the romance languages as separate languages. If Arabic has gotten to the stage of competing standards, I doubt it'll last many more centuries as a "unified language" in people's heads. It's only a matter of time until the Bayadhids come up with their own standardised spelling thats better for Egyptian Arabic, and then the Nasrids might as well too.
Ironically, it might be the non- Arabic speaking bataids that maintain the idea that they're all just speaking degraded slang in the same language for longest because their administration isn't run in Arabic so they won't have a bureaucracy sponsored orthography reform.

I wanna make an andalusí Arabic prediction if I may- kinda like maghrebi does otl, and with romance influences, the definite article al- of classical Arabic is probably more like le/lo, and because of the vowel after, it wouldn't assimilate to sun letters. So the Nile becomes le Nil, not An Nil. Possibly closer to occitan speaking regions they've picked up the more lo pronunciation for the definite article than le.

I don't know enough about Arabic grammar to be able to say anything educated but I'd love to hear how people think being part of the western European sprachbund would affect andalusí Arabic.
 
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I wonder how the production of Latin texts ittl compares to otl- The majority of otls Latin literature was written post 1400, and it remained the premier literary language even in places that went protestant, so I doubt vulgarity would really affect it. Especially with Romania having different romance languages that can't really replace each other, I could see neo Latin being at least just as strong as OTL. The wildcard for me is the Bataid realms- the possibility of *Eastern Romance speakers maintaining and participating in wider European Latin culture, whether or not it's supported by the state, is too tantalising to ignore. As far as I'm aware we still have no idea what the ethno linguistic makeup of the Balkans looks like.
It'd probably be the same as OTL. Note that the Vulgar movements aren't pushing for native-written bibles as hard as Protestants were, so it's likely that Latin could last longer as a liturgical/literary language for Latin Christianity until modern day.

As for the Haemus, I'm thinking that the Eastern Haemus is drastically changed from OTL with the dissolution of the Bulgars, the establishment of Patzinakia, and the integration of the Vlachs into the Patzinak ethnic group. Very likely that Greeks will make up the majority of people in the Southern Haemus like in Paristrion, Macedonia, and Thrace to fill in for the Slavic Bulgars whereas Patzinaks (and remaining Vlachs) are up in OTL Vlachia/Romania.

The Western Haemus should be relatively unchanged IMO, but I think the Dalmatians are much more populous ITTL even under Croatian control. It should make interactions with Venetic and other Italo-Romance dialects very interesting with the continued survival of Dalmatian.

Ironically, it might be the non- Arabic speaking bataids that maintain the idea that they're all just speaking degraded slang in the same language for longest because their administration isn't run in Arabic so they won't have a bureaucracy sponsored orthography reform.
Not to mention the Bataids are exposed to ulema and other scholars that are more versed in dialects from the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, and Mesopotamia, so they might just think that the Western Sunni dialects are all gibberish anyways after standardization.

If Arabic has gotten to the stage of competing standards, I doubt it'll last many more centuries as a "unified language" in people's heads. It's only a matter of time until the Bayadhids come up with their own standardised spelling thats better for Egyptian Arabic, and then the Nasrids might as well too.
Very likely that this will be the case. I reckon that MSA is inevitable ITTL as Arab speakers need it as a form of official communication/writing between multiple Islamic nations.

Speaking of the Egyptians, I tried to make some flags for the Harabids/Bayadhids a while back based on their old Arab tribes (the Banu Sulaym and the Banu Judham respectively). Let me know what you think!
HarabidFlag.png
BayadhidFlag.png

Harabid/Bayadhid Egypt Flag
 
Wait when did this happen? I can't find it by searching the TL?
This post explains the state of Bulgaria during the Turkish invasion into Rhomania circa the 12th century.

Though, it means that the Greek population of Bulgaria is probably less if there's a large group of Vlachs and Patzinaks that already live in Bulgaria/Paristrion by the 1500s. A large minority at the very least as opposed to the majority.
 
This post explains the state of Bulgaria during the Turkish invasion into Rhomania circa the 12th century.
But that doesn't really say anything about the demographics of the general population. The nobility can fluctuate religiously/linguistically without really leaving much of a dent in the demographics on the street.

In any case, that post says that (Muslim) vlachs were made the dominant sector of the nobility, which is hardly evidence for their assimilation and loss of linguistic identity.
 
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