The New World of the White Huns

Another fascinating update, Jihangir seems poised to dominate the Near East, although I don't think the Lankans would like him to be within striking distance of the Canal. Also great to see that the Khardi are still around, even if they are less prominent than they used to be.
 
That's what I'm thinking too, at least for this century and the next. But even now, there may be an interest in ensuring that some Lankan community remains in ports like Lisbon-- if not in a conquered port, then in some Shanghai-style concession or quarter with legal basis in treaties and/or protection with high walls. Maybe Lisbon is given back on the condition of a permanent Lankan embassy.

EDIT: I've been thinking about whether Europe has/can be given some "can't get it anywhere else" resource, or an industry that can be replicated elsewhere but loses possible value in the eyes of consumers (concerns about "craftsmanship"/"tradition", etc); and wine seems to fit the bill, especially in a world where Europe either doesn't develop an advantage with crafts like clocks/ships/glass or soon loses them. But I don't think wine would ever be required in the same volumes as something like tea (not as cheap, for one) so it may never be something to conquer ports over. But if Indian incomes start to become on average higher than European incomes, then for wine producers the Indians may becomes just as valuable as customers, or more so, than other European countries.
Give it a couple centuries and coal may be the resource Europe is best known for. India has coal mines, but theirs is of lower quality and is more difficult to reach. Imagine Coal Barons in the Rhine Valley and the north of England and in Wales, building enormous palaces bigger than the actual nobility or kings, shocking the world with conspicuous consumption, all funded by Indian - er - carborupees, in lieu of petrodollars.
 
More thoughts to come later but I feel like the effects of the Akhsau Mansar canal on commerce deserves a mini post. It dramatically simplifies the logistics of getting to the Med and that means Indian goods must be making their way to Europe by Egyptian intermediaries, I wonder what cultural effects that must be having?

With Egypt under control of a smaller, less stable power. I hold out hope that our old Apostolic friends in Makuria might one day rule the whole Nile... perhaps with aid from Lanka's enemies?
 
Give it a couple centuries and coal may be the resource Europe is best known for. India has coal mines, but theirs is of lower quality and is more difficult to reach. Imagine Coal Barons in the Rhine Valley and the north of England and in Wales, building enormous palaces bigger than the actual nobility or kings, shocking the world with conspicuous consumption, all funded by Indian - er - carborupees, in lieu of petrodollars.

This is an interesting point. Australia and the New World are also potential avenues (since I assume much of Chinese coal production will be for domestic use).

More thoughts to come later but I feel like the effects of the Akhsau Mansar canal on commerce deserves a mini post. It dramatically simplifies the logistics of getting to the Med and that means Indian goods must be making their way to Europe by Egyptian intermediaries, I wonder what cultural effects that must be having?

With Egypt under control of a smaller, less stable power. I hold out hope that our old Apostolic friends in Makuria might one day rule the whole Nile... perhaps with aid from Lanka's enemies?

I agree, and I look forward to your thoughts. It certainly diminishes the global interest in circumnavigating Africa. However, like the Canal of the Pharaohs before it, the Canal of Akhsau Mansar stretches across the Wadi Tumilat, and as such is only viable during certain months of the year. The large trading ships of the Indian powers don't make the transit - items are loaded onto barges.

Although it's an impressive engineering feat everything that can't get through on the barges (perhaps due to volume restrictions or the wrong season) has to be packed onto camels and lugged across the desert just like in old times. And the canal is always at risk of silting up.

If Makuria actually annexed Egypt, they'd probably find their hands full with governance, let alone maintaining the canal. Although it is a place with some stunning artistic and cultural achievements, Makuria isn't particularly sophisticated politically speaking, and a conquest of Egypt would be hugely disruptive, especially since the ruling class of Egypt has been Buddhist for a long time now. And for Egypt and Makuria, Christianity is basically the only thing they have in common (and at this point they don't share a hierarchy or a liturgical language). The Copts frankly like the Bakhtiyar, since the Bakhtiyar, even in their period of greatest anarchy, are profoundly tolerant, willing to devote funds to the upkeep of churches, and keep peace around the holy sites. A shocking contrast to the Khardi, who have entered the Coptic cultural memory as literal servants of Satan.

We're overdue for a return to Africa, Egypt, and Arabia, I think.
 
Last edited:
Arabia Felix
Western and Southern Arabia

Yemen in the fourteenth century was a prosperous, urban center of trade united under a single hereditary ruler, the Malik, a ruler who held ideological power based on a mixture of tribal bonds of loyalty and the ideology of sacred dharma-kingship, and who held practical power based on Sri Lankan financiers whose hands ran through every financial transaction in the realm.

But South Arabia - the Malik’s dominion - had its own indigenous claims to fame, and if it was subordinate to foriegn capital, it made up for it with the flowering of beautiful things. In the Hadhramut Valley, the city of Seiyun had become a great center of Buddhist scholarship, an isolated desert retreat nestled amongst the rugged, arid terrain. Composing poetry and literature in a sparse and impactful style, these monks and the laity that served them had a reputation as some of the most devoted and austere in all the world. Seiyun’s religious authority was unquestionable and deeply orthodox, not suffering the slight variations that the Nowbahar and Apasvanadi had contributed to the religion. These were unwarranted “innovations” from the path revealed by the accumulated canons of Buddhist scripture (to say nothing of the larger deviations of the Mahayana and the Khotadata). The Hadhrami sent a disproportionately large number of missionaries (called dawah or carikam) across the Near East and even into Eastern Europe and Siberia, hoping to persuade people to join them, taking as their creed this passage from the Pali Canon:

“Wander about on wanderings, monks. For the good of many folk, for the happiness of many folk, out of compassion for the world, for the good and the happiness of gods and men, don’t two of you go by one [road]. Preach the Truth, monks, which is lovely at the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the end, in the letter and in the spirit. Demonstrate the purified holy life which is fully complete. There are beings with little dust in their eyes; they are falling away from the Truth because they do not hear it. There will be people who understand…”

Sana’a and Aden meanwhile vied for the title of most important city of the secular world of South Arabia, a world concerned less with truth and the dust in their eyes than money and spices. Sana’a was the royal capital, home to beautiful palaces and stupa with intricate mosaics. Thanks to an intricate system of water management, Sana’a was home to opulent gardens and fresh, clear fountains, as well as the famous tower houses - tall and densely packed dwelling spaces for families. Aden perhaps was less glamorous, but no less wealthy, as a major and bustling trading port, and one guarded by Sri Lanan soldiers, despite being legally and politically controlled by its own indigenous guilds, and theoretically controlled by the Malik himself.

Qana [Al Mukallah], the major Hadhramut port, and Sabwa, a major administrative hub, round out our census of the five great cities of Yemen. These two cities enjoyed greater royal favor of late, since the Sri Lankan presence was lesser, and Qana in particular was often used by those who were rivals of the Sri Lankans, since the port authority there was less likely to turn away unwanted guests (even if it was happy to upcharge them).

West Arabia was dominated by the Malikate of the Hejaz, founded by Tayzig who had come down into the Hejaz in the twelfth century, establishing a petty kingdom around the port city of Jiddah and sacking the holy city of Al-Taif, carrying off a number of Saihist relics. Because the region was still populated by a mixture of Buddhist, Jewish, monotheist, and Saihist[1] tribes, the Tayzig, being a mixture of Buddhists and polytheists, sought to assert their dominance by bringing religious relics important to the indgenous Arabians, whether monotheist or polytheist, to Jiddah, hoping to strangle Al-Taif’s and Makkah’s roles as pilgrimage and trading towns in the interior.

Jiddah remained a key city, aligned more closely with the Tamil banking houses than the Sri Lankans, but able to play the two sides off where the Malik of Yemen had submitted. Within a century, the Tayzig had lost their essential Persianate characteristic, something now reflected more or less in the architecture of their palaces and public houses, but less so in their culture - to survive they had intermarried with local Arab tribes, and abandoned much of what might have once made them bakhtiyar-adjacent - a contrast with greater Syria, where the Tayzig culture was becoming increasingly predominant as an identitarian matter.

The Near East was changing. The Arab world, at the fringes of these immense cultural changes, is also very much a driver of them. Since the Eftal era, the Near East has always been a region of contrasts - defined by incredibly particularized regional identities and religious schisms while simultaneously being ruled by lofty universal monarchs whose attempts at unification under a single standardized creed usually simply added to the proliferation of identities and beliefs. The ascent of Buddhism has been slow and halting, and at many times and in many places, it seemed like Christianity would finally win out in the centuries long conflict for the hearts and minds of the Near East.

But that era is coming to a close in the fourteenth century. By the end of the Bakhtiyar era, Christianity is well and truly a minority faith across broad swathes of the Near East, and Arabia is the great center of Theravada scholarship whose influence will cast a long shadow over these religious transformations. Theravada Buddhism as preached by the Sri Lankans and Arabs is on the ascent after centuries of bitter religious conflicts between the Nowbahar and “pagans.” Other identities are hardening as well, as Iranian rulers seek to promote a vision of Iranian culture, and Tayzig rulers do the same in Syria.

Next, we will shift our gaze north and west to Egypt and Syria in the aftermath of Idirim ibn Mansur’s death, and then from there we will progress into North Africa and perhaps down across the Sahel. But that’s a post for another time.

[1] Pagans. These Saihist holdouts are a shadow of the former movement, but they will endure to modernity.
 
Last edited:
The wheel turns again, let's see if the Xasar get along with the new neighbors.

Egypt's final status is unknown. Seems like crazy things might be afoot there, and by extension in Palestine. How is the ethnic makeup there?
 
The wheel turns again, let's see if the Xasar get along with the new neighbors.

Egypt's final status is unknown. Seems like crazy things might be afoot there, and by extension in Palestine. How is the ethnic makeup there?

Well the frontier zone that is eastern Anatolia and the caucasus will likely at least in the short term blunt any real threat from Iran (or whoever else comes to power in the former Haruniya territories). Lots of independent Romans, Azeri, Eftal, Armenians, etc. The Eftal and other pastoralists really are difficult for anyone to assert centralized power over. So the Xasar are safe for now.

Egypt will be the subject of a new post, but I think it could go in a lot of different directions! They've had an interesting history in this TL - first as a post-Roman successor state, then as the great (albeit slowly diminishing) Christian Eftal kingdom of the Heshanids, then overrun by the Khardi and devastated, then given new life by the Bakhtiyar, who from the days of Akhsau Mansar onwards really revitalized Egypt and spent a lot to build it back into a power.

Egypt's also not a melting pot like Syria is. There's a lot of Tazyig, Eftal and Arabs there, but unlike in Syria, the Eftal are Christians and assimilated into the Copts, who are the majority population by far. The Tayzig and Arabs are the ruling class, relatively few in number but also the military backbone of the state.
 
Well the frontier zone that is eastern Anatolia and the caucasus will likely at least in the short term blunt any real threat from Iran (or whoever else comes to power in the former Haruniya territories). Lots of independent Romans, Azeri, Eftal, Armenians, etc. The Eftal and other pastoralists really are difficult for anyone to assert centralized power over. So the Xasar are safe for now.

Egypt will be the subject of a new post, but I think it could go in a lot of different directions! They've had an interesting history in this TL - first as a post-Roman successor state, then as the great (albeit slowly diminishing) Christian Eftal kingdom of the Heshanids, then overrun by the Khardi and devastated, then given new life by the Bakhtiyar, who from the days of Akhsau Mansar onwards really revitalized Egypt and spent a lot to build it back into a power.

Egypt's also not a melting pot like Syria is. There's a lot of Tazyig, Eftal and Arabs there, but unlike in Syria, the Eftal are Christians and assimilated into the Copts, who are the majority population by far. The Tayzig and Arabs are the ruling class, relatively few in number but also the military backbone of the state.
How Buddhist would you say Egypt is in general? I know that the Christians still make up a majority of the population from what you have described in general and that it's mostly the ruling class who are Buddhist, but it's also been mentioned before that Buddhists have developed into a major minority, and id think the ruling class being mostly Buddhist for a long period would likely encourage at least some conversions, even if they are somewhat rare, among the general population. Egypt is very interesting overall, and I love all the religious interactions between different faiths TTL, especially with the entirely different context and situations that these faiths end up in compared to OTL (such as the extensive history of Buddhist-Christian rivalry that (for obvious reasons) never existed in OTL), which Egypt is a prime example of. I honestly think the Theological stuff is probably my favorite part of the timeline, as it really fleshes out the world and gives fascinating insight into the cultures and worldviews of the people living within it. I wonder if we would see any cross-cultural pollination of religious ideas or syncretism in Egypt (as unlikely as that might be) due to the profound tolerance of the Bakhtiyar and the positive attitudes of the Christian Coptic populace towards them (especially for ending the Khardi's persecutions and being willing to dedicate funds to the upkeep of churches and maintenance of peace around religious sites).If such a thing would happen anywhere, it would be Egypt, where the hostility between Christians and Buddhists we see in many other places due to their rivalry TTL isn't really existent in the same way and they seem to have fairly good relations, and you've already implied some major differences have developed between Egyptian Christianity and that of Makuria, which could be at least partially because of some of these folk religious ideas. Then again, the practices that could develop as a result of this would probably look pretty different from anything OTL, since the examples of such Buddhist-Christian syncretism we have seen in OTL, such as the incorporation of certain Christian practices into the faith of the Lepcha people who practice a form of Lamaistic Buddhism that was already heavily syncretic with their traditional faith (including the traditional religion allowing the incorporation of Buddha and/or Christ into religious practice depending on the household) and the continued practice of many traditional Mahayana and Confucian ancestral rites, customs, and philosophies in modified forms alongside and as part of the practice of Catholicism in South Korea all came into existence under very different circumstances and with Christianity usually in the dominant position.
 
Last edited:
Western and Southern Arabia
What's funny is that while the middle east is now a core region of orthodox Buddhism, the fact that there different as well thanks to there being a more stronger push for missionaries and proselytism compare to our otl is interesting.

I also like Saihist is now a term for middle east pagan, Like I said before, I can definitely see the middle east as the land of female saints and bodhisattvas thanks to the ideas of saihism.

How much has Indian Buddism change compare to OTL?
 
How Buddhist would you say Egypt is in general?

I don't know, and because this is a time period before a lot of clear census-taking, it feels strange to put hard numbers on it.

I honestly think the Theological stuff is probably my favorite part of the timeline, as it really fleshes out the world and gives fascinating insight into the cultures and worldviews of the people living within it.

Thank you, and I will endeavor to keep a focus on that aspect. I don't know if we will see syncretism between Buddhism and Christianity take hold - to my mind syncretism on a large scale (let alone a formal scale) is generally easier where one of the two religions doesn't have a very clear doctrinal foundation - allowing a blurring of ideas. See how the heretical North African Christians in this storyline worshipped Christ Idir as a sort of parallel messiah - a messianic figure drawn from their own pagan narratives - and see also how that idea has become less popular over time. Syncretism, I tend to think, is tough to sustain in the longer term, even if it lasts a fever long time.

If such a thing would happen anywhere, it would be Egypt, where the hostility between Christians and Buddhists we see in many other places due to their rivalry TTL isn't really existent

This is an interesting point. Certainly ideas will flow very freely here. But I also think, cynically, that the Bakhtiyar (who are mostly Buddhist in ideology) tolerance and patronage of Christendom is borne out of a feeling of success. It's easy to be generous when the people who you're being generous to don't threaten your own position.

hen again, the practices that could develop as a result of this would probably look pretty different from anything OTL, since the examples of such Buddhist-Christian syncretism we have seen in OTL, such as the incorporation of certain Christian practices into the faith of the Lepcha people who practice a form of Lamaistic Buddhism that was already heavily syncretic with their traditional faith (including the traditional religion allowing the incorporation of Buddha and/or Christ into religious practice depending on the household) and the continued practice of many traditional Mahayana and Confucian ancestral rites, customs, and philosophies in modified forms alongside and as part of the practice of Catholicism in South Korea all came into existence under very different circumstances and with Christianity usually in the dominant position.

The Lepcha are definitely a thing for me to look into. It's tough to visualize what Buddhist-Christian syncretism going the other way would look like. Especially because the Christian populations annexed by the Buddhists here are some of the most ancient and venerable sites in Christianity. The Buddhists are newcomers here, outside of the Arabian peninsula and some parts of Iran.

What's funny is that while the middle east is now a core region of orthodox Buddhism, the fact that there different as well thanks to there being a more stronger push for missionaries and proselytism compare to our otl is interesting.

Certainly Buddhism had its own missionary impulse - the quote I took from the Pali Canon is evidence of this. And it hardly would have spread so far without preachers. I think the Arabian impulse to preach is borne as much out of a desire to correct the perceived errors of their coreligionists as it is to bring in new converts. But there is a strong urge to spread Buddhism to unknown places - the notion being that those who have never heard the Buddha's teachings are easier to bring around than those who have heard them and incorporated their own local aspects.

I also like Saihist is now a term for middle east pagan, Like I said before, I can definitely see the middle east as the land of female saints and bodhisattvas thanks to the ideas of saihism.

I think so as well. Nuns are a huge part of the monastic communities of Arabia and the Near East, and frankly I'm past due on making up some near eastern bodhisattvas, female or otherwise (unless anyone else wanted to do so, I'd be fascinated to hear ideas within the frame of this story). Certainly there'd be some controversy, since they'd have to be of an acceptably orthoprax streak (no Sogdian school people unless future historians could figure out a way to retcon it), but I'm sure that they exist.

How much has Indian Buddism change compare to OTL?
Indian Buddhism (outside of Sri Lanka) should be considered, broadly speaking, an outgrowth of the Pala traditions (of OTL and TTL). Increasingly tantric, esoteric, and mystical. Outside of the massive and influential monasteries, there has been a blurring between Buddhism and Hinduism. Without the destruction wrought by Hephthalite and Muslim invaders, and with bhakti less influential than OTL, the decline of Buddhism has been slowed but not abated. Royal patronage has helped, as has the general sense among the laity that Buddhism offers a more transcendent, spiritual approach to living, whereas Hinduism offers more practical, direct, devotional, religion. This of course has its exceptions on both sides - Buddhists often incorporate Hindu mantras and rituals, and Hindu Vedanta offers much of what Buddhism does. But the two are syncretized much as they are in the greater Indosphere. Hinduism is not overwhelmingly dominant as in OTL, and great numbers of Buddhists survive throughout the subcontinent, even without royal support.
 
I think so as well. Nuns are a huge part of the monastic communities of Arabia and the Near East, and frankly I'm past due on making up some near eastern bodhisattvas, female or otherwise (unless anyone else wanted to do so, I'd be fascinated to hear ideas within the frame of this story). Certainly there'd be some controversy, since they'd have to be of an acceptably orthoprax streak (no Sogdian school people unless future historians could figure out a way to retcon it), but I'm sure that they exist.
I think it would be funny compare to otl, that the middle east ends up being the birthplace of feminism or at least religious feminism.
 
Thank you, and I will endeavor to keep a focus on that aspect. I don't know if we will see syncretism between Buddhism and Christianity take hold - to my mind syncretism on a large scale (let alone a formal scale) is generally easier where one of the two religions doesn't have a very clear doctrinal foundation - allowing a blurring of ideas. See how the heretical North African Christians in this storyline worshipped Christ Idir as a sort of parallel messiah - a messianic figure drawn from their own pagan narratives - and see also how that idea has become less popular over time. Syncretism, I tend to think, is tough to sustain in the longer term, even if it lasts a fever long time.
That is all very true. Perhaps Syncretism was the wrong word for me to use here, since that implies a much more formalized and large scale thing then what I was thinking of. What I imagined when I said Syncretism was more that ideas from both religions, due to their close contact with eachother TTL, could potentially cross over and influence eachother in interesting ways, just due to their close contact and lack of direct religious conflict during this period, even if the tolerance preventing that conflict is for cynical reasons. I certainly imagine there could possibly be SOME amount of direct syncretism in terms of folk practices outside the formalized religious hierarchies and such, and that could be interesting to explore, but I certainly wasn’t thinking something like “Christ is a Boodhivista who suffered on the cross to bring enlightenment” or an equivalent of the Christ Idir would ever be widespread or formalized into the religious practices of either Buddhists or Christians.
This is an interesting point. Certainly ideas will flow very freely here. But I also think, cynically, that the Bakhtiyar (who are mostly Buddhist in ideology) tolerance and patronage of Christendom is borne out of a feeling of success. It's easy to be generous when the people who you're being generous to don't threaten your own position.
Oh definitely, I wasn’t trying to argue that the Bakhtiyar were uniquely enlightened when it came to religious tolerance or something, nor that they wouldn’t react very harshly to any actual threats to their dominance. It definetly seems, as you said, like they are mostly so comfortable being so religiously tolerant towards Christianity because they feel assured in their position and success (Which, to be fair, seems pretty secure at the moment). I was imagining more what kind of effects some of the Buddhist philosophy and worldviews the Bakhtiyar, being the country’s ruling elite, would bring with them to Egypt and how they’d influence local religious practice. Like you said, ideas could flow pretty freely in these circumstances, and adopting some interesting ideas the other religion has into your worldview doesn't necessarily mean your worshiping the gods of the other guy, which would be a VERY different thing to do.
 
Can Basra be considered a Khardi city? IIRC the Khardi set up the Sawad plantation economy the Arabs were known for OTL, so it's possible that the Mesopotamian coast is Khardi and could easily be part of a future nation-state of theirs.

Also, I recall reading somewhere that urban Arabs of the early Caliphates would sometimes have their kids be tutored in Arabic with the Bedouins, instead of sticking with the possibly strange Arabic of cities shared with other groups. Remembering that urban Syrians have a lot of Persian-ish names (itself a trait going back to Eftal times I guess) could that mean a large part of the Syrian desert inhabitants consider themselves Tayzig, or have married into those (prosperous?) clans and so at least have relatives with Persian names (and are maybe mulling such names for their own children)? In the event of Syrian and Mesopotamian nation-states, which seems likely, the desert may be closer affiliated with the west. If Tayzig have settled in the Sawad as well under the Haruniya, the situation gets even more interesting.
 
Can I be refreshed, who are the Tayzig? The Khardi are Kurds right?

The Khardi are indeed Kurds. Tayzig is an umbrella term for settled non-Persian people living in the Near East (historically descended from Arabic-speakers, Aramaic-speakers, and Greek-speakers). It was originally a derisive Eftal slur cognate with the OTL Persian word tazik/tajik, essentially calling all the settled people of the Near East "foreigners." Over the centuries, however, this word came to be used as a self-identification by the melting-pot Persian-Syrian culture, largely among those of them who converted to Buddhism.

Can Basra be considered a Khardi city? IIRC the Khardi set up the Sawad plantation economy the Arabs were known for OTL, so it's possible that the Mesopotamian coast is Khardi and could easily be part of a future nation-state of theirs.

Also, I recall reading somewhere that urban Arabs of the early Caliphates would sometimes have their kids be tutored in Arabic with the Bedouins, instead of sticking with the possibly strange Arabic of cities shared with other groups. Remembering that urban Syrians have a lot of Persian-ish names (itself a trait going back to Eftal times I guess) could that mean a large part of the Syrian desert inhabitants consider themselves Tayzig, or have married into those (prosperous?) clans and so at least have relatives with Persian names (and are maybe mulling such names for their own children)? In the event of Syrian and Mesopotamian nation-states, which seems likely, the desert may be closer affiliated with the west. If Tayzig have settled in the Sawad as well under the Haruniya, the situation gets even more interesting.

Well there is no Basra in this timeline. We can speculate there's a major port on the Persian gulf, some descendant of the old Sassanid era cities of Karka or Wahistabad Aradashir. Since I know the path of the rivers there tends to shift, the site of the city has likely shifted at least once or twice.

The Khardi are heavier on the ground in the north, but they'd certainly try to claim all Mesopotamia (and their traditional mountainous homelands) as integral parts of their nation for obvious reasons. Under the Haruniya era, a lot of Arabs and Tayzig moved into Mesopotamia as well, and the Khardi estates were divided amongst the bakhtiyar (although the Khardi themselves were not genocided or driven out, there was definitely a new order of new bosses). And yeah I'd agree with the assessment that Tayzig has an equal chance at this point of referring to an urban Syrian or a warlike pastoralist or a random peasant connected to said urban Syrian by kinship.
 
So what exactly are the Xasar? Are they basically dharmic Turks?

The Xasar are what has emerged out of a Turko-Iranian confederation that dominated the Pontic Steppe in the latter part of late antiquity and moved down into Pannonia in the 8th century CE. This confederation included Avars, Xasar, and various other Iranian and Turkic groups. Ultimately, the Xasar came to dominate after a period of domination by the Turks. They speak a language that is a blending of Turkish and Iranian in approximately the same way English speakers blend French and Old English. They are nominally Buddhist, but in sharp contrast to most global Buddhism they place a large emphasis on a small pantheon of classical Iranian deities, most prominently Mihir/Mithra. Their formation and ascent is basically totally a TTL thing, and resulted in the butterflying of a lot of the steppe groups famous in OTL.

In this timeline's present, the Xasar have expanded far beyond what anyone expected, becoming lords over the Balkans and conquering most of Anatolia, which makes them look kind of like an Ottoman knock-off, but it shouldn't be forgotten that the Xasar invaded from the north - their homeland is more like OTL Hungary and Thrace, and Anatolia is peripheral.
 
The Xasar are what has emerged out of a Turko-Iranian confederation that dominated the Pontic Steppe in the latter part of late antiquity and moved down into Pannonia in the 8th century CE. This confederation included Avars, Xasar, and various other Iranian and Turkic groups. Ultimately, the Xasar came to dominate after a period of domination by the Turks. They speak a language that is a blending of Turkish and Iranian in approximately the same way English speakers blend French and Old English. They are nominally Buddhist, but in sharp contrast to most global Buddhism they place a large emphasis on a small pantheon of classical Iranian deities, most prominently Mihir/Mithra. Their formation and ascent is basically totally a TTL thing, and resulted in the butterflying of a lot of the steppe groups famous in OTL.

In this timeline's present, the Xasar have expanded far beyond what anyone expected, becoming lords over the Balkans and conquering most of Anatolia, which makes them look kind of like an Ottoman knock-off, but it shouldn't be forgotten that the Xasar invaded from the north - their homeland is more like OTL Hungary and Thrace, and Anatolia is peripheral.
Interesting. I didn't know about the Iranian part of their culture and religion, I thought they were just Turks that converted to Buddhism and settled in the Balkans. The Xasar migration is interesting because I assumed they went through Anatolia and crushed the Eastern Romans al la the Ottomans.

So what happened to the Slavs?
 
Top