View Full Version : Deus Vult
April 17th, 2010, 03:18 PM
“Therefore gird yourselves manfully and take up joyful arms for the name of Christ.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
Great battles have always tended to fall into two categories: Those that stop an empire, and those that define one. In 1260, the Mongol loss at Ain Jalut forever halted the westward expansion of the largest and most vicious empire mankind had ever known, falling in the league of Poitiers, Stalingrad, and Leipzig. Had they not been checked, we can only postulate how wide their expansion could have ranged. In this alternative time line, the Mongol victory will become known with its peers, Austerlitz, Midway, and Granicus.
Book One: An Alternate Ain Jalut
Chapter I: Fall of the Mamelukes
“And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them.”
Isaiah XIX, 4
1259: Julian of Sidon was born with a larger amount of intelligence, thus he did not raid Mongol ruled Syria. In this raid during the historical timeline, he killed the Mongol general Kitbuqa’s grandson. As a result of this the Lordship of Sidon was raided in response, considerably chilling relations between the Ilkhanate and Outremer.
1260: The Mameluk Sultan, Qutuz, demands free passage through Outremer and the realms of Acre, in order to attack the diminished army of Hulagu which is also missing its general. He also requests free victuals and water rights for his army. In addition he proposes a possible alliance between Acre and Egypt. A meeting of the barons of Outremer is quickly convened, and there were a few who proposed an outright alliance, and even more who said that the Mamelukes should be granted free passage. But eventually, due to the persuasive arguments of the master of the Teutonic Order Anno of Sangerhausen (who had learned the benefits of a pro-Mongol policy in Armenia from King Hethouem of Cilicia) he convinced them the Mamelukes were the far greater threat, and the Mongols even had many Christians in their ranks. The Mamelukes thus sent a large army through the lands of Outremer, which ravaged it quite badly. Acre was sacked to an extent, and many small holds were destroyed.
In response to this awful perfidy, the Barons of Acre sent a small force of around 500 Knights, and 4000 Men at arms to assist the Mongols against the Mamelukes. Due to information brought by the Christians, the Mongols could not be ambushed, and their numerical inferiority was abetted somewhat. The Christians fought with a vengeance against the Mamelukes with their equally vicious Mongol allies. Qutuz is captured and is executed immediately on the battlefield, but not before mocking Kitbuqa with how fleeting his accomplishments would be (he thought). In the midst of an inglorious retreat, Baibars was crowned new caliph of Egypt in the absence of Qutuz. At the end of the year the remnants of Kitbuqa’s forces seize Damascus and most of the rest of Syria.
1261: Kitbuqa launches an offensive into Egypt using the help of the Pisan and Genoese fleets. A combined Armenian-Mongol-Crusader-Cypriot force seizes Alexandria in February. Now using command of Egypt’s coastal ports, they attempt to starve out the Mameluke Caliphate. Egypt offers a conditional surrender to Kitbuqa, including surrender of Alexandria and the Sinai. He refuses, and offers Outremer extensive territorial incentives to them and Cilicia if they will stay in the war and aid him in his conquest of Egypt. With the help of an additional two tumens from Hulagu, complemented with a 15,000 man force mustered from Cyprus, Cilicia and Acre he commences his campaign. Also, King James I of Aragon and a small force sent by Louis IX came with armies, with whom was brought young Conradin, heir to the throne of Jerusalem and claimant to Sicily, which had been usurped by his bastard uncle. In a massive battle for Egypt, both sides were assembled on the banks of the Nile. Baibars’ army, and the man himself, acquitted themselves honorably. Yet in the end the victor was Kitbuqa.
Cairo was razed, and given much the same treatment as of Baghdad (which was sacked, brought down the ground, and overall had their population annihilated three years prior). Egypt had been largely conquered by the end of 1261, as well as Syria. The allied forces were momentarily stifled at Homs and Hama, yet their resistance did not last long, for large reinforcements arrived. To the Kingdom of Jerusalem/Acre, she was given all land north of the Sinai, south of Aintab, west of Druz, and to the Mediterranean Coast. The issue of Cypriot independence was set to be resolved at a later date. In Byzantium, as opposed to our timeline, Baldwin II of Constantinople was never able to escape the clutches of Michael VIII Palaeologus because of Venetian conflict with the Genoans.
1262: The Golden Horde, upon hearing of the sack of Cairo, declared war on the Ilkhanate. They did so because of on top of the intolerable treatment given to Cairo, was the awful treatment of Baghdad, after which the Golden Horde outright demanded the Ilkhanate cease its wars against the Muslim world. Hulagu’s armies outright ignored this ultimatum, and the Muslim Golden Horde, led by pious Berke Khan, was enraged. Unless all Mameluke territory was immediately returned (they demanded) it would be war. This was an impossible ultimatum for the Ilkhanate. It was truly war, and the disintegration of the Great Khanate was upon the world.
At the start of the year Hulagu returned from the Kuriltay which crowned Kublai as the new Grand Khan, and crowned Kitbuqa Lord of Egypt. He recognized that while the Ilkhanate was mighty it couldn’t single-handedly rule all of the Middle East. His official title is “The High King of Egypt, under the grand Royal Ilkhan”. Also, under pressure from the Mongols to resolve their civil disputes and unite under the legitimate ruler, Conradin is crowned the new King of Jerusalem, at 12 years of age. The coronation takes place in a regal ceremony in the Holy Sepulchre, retaken for the first time in decades for Christendom. The Patriarch presides over ceremonies. This was done under the condition Kitbuqa serves as regent during Conradin’s four year minority. He is also given the title of “Co-Protector of the Levant and the Near East” along with Kitbuqa.
Towards the end of this year, skirmishes began in the Caucasus between the Golden Horde under Berke Khan and the Ilkhanate and the forces of Hulagu Khan.
Chapter II: Civil War
“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” – Thomas Hobbes
1263: At the beginning of the year most of the crusading forces returned home, some stayed, optimistic about the chances of this truly new Kingdom of Jerusalem. A few, though, were unhappy about her state of semi-vassalization to the Nestorian (and thusly apostate) Mongol Kitbuqa. Kitbuqa also had recently wed Euphrosyne Palaiologina, only legitimate daughter of the newly reinstated Michael VIII Palaiologos. She was a Christian, of course, and further added to the complex religious tableaux that was Egypt. In Outremer, tensions rose between the realm of Cyprus and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. By this point Cyprus had become a fairly sovereign kingdom in its own right, and was not going to yield all authority to the Kingdom of Jerusalem without protest just because the Mongols told them to do so the way Antioch had. They also were still somewhat powerful in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, as the current king’s aunt (Isabella of Lusignan) was serving as the regent of Jerusalem right up until the arrival of Conradin. The current regent of Cyprus, Hughues de Poitiers, was quite an influential and forceful man. For a short time, tensions rose, for Hulagu Khan disliked the thought of an entirely independent (and possibly defiant) state existed so closely to his somewhat tenuous empire and so insisted that Cyprus be incorporated into either Jerusalem or Egypt. All parties involved (except perhaps Hulagu, he cared little for the intricacies of small-state diplomacy) knew incorporation into Egypt would not work, because Cyprus was by now thoroughly European. Neither Hulagu nor Hugh de Poitiers were men much for compromise. Luckily though, the current King of Cyprus Hugh II and Conradin were of the same age, and were both –in effect- orphans. They sympathized with each other to a great deal and formed a fast friendship. This led to Cyprus pledging, if not fealty, allegiance to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and defused a potentially sticky situation.
Finally to pacify Hugh III(Regent of Cyprus) Conradin is betrothed to marry Hugh’s sister upon his majority of sixteen, Margaret of Antioch-Lusignan. By all accounts, she is the prettiest girl of her generation and Conradin was quite infatuated with here even before they were engaged. She is eight years his elder, but it matters little to them, for she is only nineteen now and well within childbearing age.
The war between the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde began in earnest this year, when Hulagu Khan advanced with a large force north into the Caucasus Mountains to punish Berke Khan for his awful transgressions against the Ilkhanate. He amassed a large force, supplemented with reinforcements from Kitbuqa. He marched north, up through the pass of Derbend to punish the impertinent Berke. Hulagu surrounds and smashes Berke’s forces on the Terek River. In this battle the commanding Golden Horde general, Nogai Khan (nephew of Berke Khan) was taken prisoner, and treated quite well by Hulagu, due to their common relations. Most of Berke’s forces had managed to escape and he had begun to regroup his army in the large plains of the Golden Horde, yet before he had prepared for another battle Hulagu continued his advance threatening with thrusts into the center of the empire. This forced Berke to escape and attempt to regroup around the capital, Sarai. His foes advance was proving very difficult to stop once it had gained momentum, and now forces called up from the native Christians of Egypt and Syria, eager to prove their loyalty to the might Ilkhan, enlarged its size.
Also around this time, the Genoese fell out of favor with the Mongols because they refused to stop their thriving trade with the Golden Horde. In response to this Conradin (with some slight “encouragement” from Kitbuqa, a dominating presence over the young king to be sure) declared a nullification of all Genoese trading rights in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and Kitbuqa also outlawed them from Alexandria. Most of these rights were either gone forever or given to the declining Pisans (Conradin and his advisors favored the Pisans, who were long-time Ghibellines, or supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor over the Papacy and his agents), but some had been to the hated Venetians. This made up somewhat for their recent loss in Constantinople, and escalated the already acute tensions between Venice and Genoa. The advance of the Ilkahanate’s armies continued largely unhindered, for Berke did not wish to risk another defeat, which could ruin him. By the end of the year Berke was ready for terms. His empire was collapsing around him, as the opportunistic Russians now were rebelling against his rule in their lands, a burden they had always held resentfully.
We now may turn our eye to Europe. As was mentioned earlier, tensions between Venice and Genoa have risen to high levels, and a Genoan raid on the Venetian Crete now only increased this. The Venetians were furious over this blatant disrespect of Venetian sovereignty, and demanded an apology and reciprocation immediately. The Genoese earlier had even helped topple the Venetian puppet, the Latin Empire. Many of their ports had switched places, the Genoese moving in the north and the Venetians in the south. Venice declared war between the two Republics, both bitterly jealous over each other’s successes. Conflicts began in the Aegean this year, with a Genoese landing on Crete. The powers-that-be in the Levant have declared in favor of the Venetians, and thus the Pisans signed an alliance with the Venetians against the Genoese. King James I of Aragon also arrived home now from his adventures in the Levant, ready to resume his conquest of the hated Moors as soon as he and his armies could recuperate.
Conradin now finally and reluctantly gave his rights up to Swabia, partitioning it between Rudolph of Habsburg (an old family friend and die-hard supporter of the Hohenstaufens and step-father Meinhard of Carinthia , yet Conradin still claimed himself as the true heir to the Kingdom of Sicily. He was unlikely to have such an unbelievable stroke of luck in claiming that title as he had his first one, for he was to have hard time of it between the powerful ruler ( and his uncle) Manfred of Sicily (who had stolen the title from Conradin five years prior), and the ruthlessly ambitious titular ruler Charles of Anjou.
1264: At then dawn of the New Year, a peace was negotiated (rather, wrung) from the Golden Horde. Berke Khan relinquished all of his territory in the Caucasus, issued a formal apology to the Ilkhanate, renounced any claims as the Protector of Islam and any alliance he had with the Mamelukes, and also denied the legitimacy of the dubiously honest Al-Mustansir, claimed descendant of the deposed Caliphs. Though likely not a true descendant, he was nonetheless a rallying point for the Muslims, and denial by Berke hurt the cause of the few who continued to resist the domination of the Tatar Hordes. Finally, he ransomed back the genius general Nogai Khan (he had been overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers and arms in the battle of the Terek) from the Ilkhanate. Nogai Khan had been greatly ashamed by what had happened, and became occupied with an obsession to regain his former feared and glorious reputation. The Novgorod Republic had commenced an invasion of the Golden Horde, knowing it was in no proper position to respond with adequate force. Unfortunately for them, peace concluded between the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate shortly after they begin their invasion of the Golden Horde. Several of the other small Russian feudal states also rose against the Golden Horde. Thus, the Golden Horde’s army was mobilized for a raid to teach these Russians a lesson for the impetuousness. They won a great victory, and forced new punishments and taxes upon the Duchies and Republics of Russia. Nogai Khan’s glory lust had been whetted, to an extent. Yet he still hungered for an exhibition against a more worthy opponent than the disunited and weak Russian vassal states.
Also, the Armenians, Georgians, and Circassians rose in favor of the Ilkhanate, with its known high tolerance for Christians. Luckily for them, the Golden Horde was unable to strike back, for their lands were transferred to the Ilkhanate in the peace treaty. In Egypt, Kitbuqa secured many of the remaining Muslim possessions in Syria, and is now adding most of them to his growing kingdom in Egypt, or gifting them to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. He staged minor operations in the Sultanate of Rum, to remind them where their loyalties lay.
In the rest of the Middle-East, large backlashes against the native Christians, now being appointed to power across the territory of the Ilkhanate, required increase Tatar military presence in several large Middle-Eastern cities. Many leading Islamists were imprisoned and punished, and their property confiscated for the Ilkhanate. The Ilkhan also staged minor scouting raids into the Nejd. In the Kingdom of Jerusalem, all of the final hold out barons recognized the ultimate authority of Conradin as the new true king, even the powerful Ibelin’s, yet he may have to bribe them further in the future (particularly a possible marriage alliance).
Back in Italy, Pope Urban IV realized this was as good a chance as he would have in a long time to finally rid Sicily of the bothersome Manfred, and recruited Charles to retake the island for the Pope. This was despite the many protestations of Conradin’s supporters, and the increasingly capable boy himself. Unfortunately, not only was he not a strong enough military leader to do so at this point, but he also lacked the support of the Pope, who still held an immature grudge against the Hohenstaufen. Charles of Anjou’s armies began landing in Naples towards the end of this year after a lengthy mobilization period, while Manfred seemed to not take this actually quite serious threat as any real concern to him or his kingdom. A minor setback occurs for Charles of Anjou when Pope Urban IV dies (no divergence from our time line). The necessity for a Papal conclave and thus a temporary stoppage of immediate extra funds to his forces makes him temporarily slow his campaign to oust Manfred from Sicily.
Elsewhere in the Mediterranean the Venetian-Genoese war continues with increased fury from both sides. The Genoese suffered a minor blow with the surrender of their benefactors, the Golden Horde, but fought on capturing several key Venetian possessions in the Aegean and even staging a handful of minor raiding expedition in the Dalmatians and Adriatic Sea. The Venetians in turn launched some minor land expeditions against the Genoese in the peninsula itself (with the help of their allies the Pisans). They also responded in the Levant, encouraging punitive action by Conradin against the long-time ally of the Genoese, the Hospitallers. There was a minor shift in favor at the court of Jerusalem towards the Templars. Also, there were several major battles in the Aegean between the two mighty fleets, with several islands and colonies switching hands a few times.
Despite attempts by several major Christian parties, such as the Pope and the Roman Emperor (the Eastern one, there still isn’t one in the West), their counter-productive and internecine war continued. Eventually they would force major players in the Mediterranean to take sides. Already the Pope, the Guelphs, and Charles of Anjou were showing small signs of support for the Genoese, if to just spite Conradin. Perhaps they were also motivated to prevent any one of the major merchant cities from gaining a dominant share in the power, as Venice was currently leading in the war by a good deal, and the Genoese were on their heels, reeling.
Back on other side of the Mediterranean, at the start of the year James I of Aragon and his two sons had returned from their adventures in Outremer with much experience and a wish to give the Muslims as good a hiding as they had received in the East back home in the West. He captured a great deal of the petty Moorish sultanates and beydoms to the south of Aragon, considerably expanding his power base in the name of all Christendom. If we now turn farther north, in the Grand Principality of Vladimir Suzdal, the Golden Horde’s favored candidate for the throne Yaroslav of Tver falls out of favor, and instead his brother Andrey II of Vladimir takes power. He had a known record of opposing the Golden Horde, and with the Golden Horde’s power falling he became the stronger candidate.
Finally, the ever pious Louis IX began preaching for a new crusade, this time to North Africa. He forever regretted he had been incapacitated, unable to be in attendance in person when Jerusalem had been readmitted into the gracious open arms of Western Christendom. He now wished to gain glory for God, and forever push the dreaded Muslims out of the Mediterranean. If no one would join him, a shame, but he would do it all by himself. Yet he wished to gather a great exhibition to forever retake the precious North coast of Africa for the Christ. He managed to somehow wring a vow out of Charles of Anjou, but only once his “affairs” in Sicily had been settled, and he was comfortably able to supply a large crusading force. Edward Longshanks had expressed interest in this adventure, yet was unfortunately preoccupied by the English Civil War. Aragon also was too worn out against the Moors and its previous expedition to Outremer to provide any meaningful assistance to Louis IX. Castile expressed tentative commitments, and yet thus far it looked as if it might be solely fellow Angevins on this war of God.
April 18th, 2010, 01:55 PM
Chapter III : The Fallout Begins
“Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God.” - Martin Luther
1265: At the dawn of this new year a great tragedy struck the Mongol people. Their great leader Hulagu, who had lead them to myriad great victories and triumphs over their enemies, passed away. This would prove to be one of, if not the very last, of the traditional Mongol funerals for their princes. Hulagu was accompanied to his death by a large number of slaves and young women. Such funerals would soon go out of fashion due to the embrace of Christianity among the nobility of the Ilkhanate. His death was met with great mourning and consternation across Christendom, for the man who had saved Outremer from the evil Mamelukes and dealt numerous dreadful blows to the immortal enemy, Islam. Yet his successor Abaqa Khan was likely to be no great disappointment to the many who waited eagerly to see what traits this man, heir to one of the greatest empires on Earth, would possess.
Abaqa Khan was Hulagu’s son, and embraced an odd mix of Buddhism infused with a few Christian principles. He was very sympathetic towards the Christian people, and his new wife, Maria Palaiologina, was a Byzantine Princess. After the death of Hulagu’s wife, former spiritual leader of the Ilkhanate, Maria has assumed this position. He has instituted several anti-Muslim policies, and tended to favor native Christians over Muslims for administrative positions in the Ilkhanate. Abaqa also began a program in the Ilkhanate to encourage the learning of Latin in selected positions in the Khanate, due to their newly increased close ties with the West. He even requested envoys be sent from the Pope (who’s selection I will touch on later) so that Mongols may better understand the ways of the Europeans.
Abaqa was very friendly towards the Christians, and at times even contemplated a baptism prior to his coronation. He eventually did not because he feared the Great Khan Kublai may not like the religious “radicalization” of one of the largest vassal states of his Empire. He sent forces to the border of his rule with that of the Golden Horde, north of the Caucasus. He also condemned their extremely harsh treatment of the rebelling Russian feudatories. Nogai Khan did not listen to him, and continued to raid into Russia and even venture into the Ukraine and further East. Plans for an expedition into Poland were raised but declined to do so after considering the failure of their last attempt to invade Poland. Nogai Khan planned an invasion of Hungary and Lithuania which was largely accepted with demur. This was because Berke Khan had fallen ill this year and there was no strong, legitimate, heir to the throne from which to temporarily take power. Towards the end of this year they were putting together an invasion force, which took longer than normal due to the severe damage sustained in their defeat against the Ilkhanate. In the face of all this Nogai Khan became the most powerful figure and de facto, if not de jure, leader of the Golden Horde. Nogai Khan was a devoted Islamist, similar to his predecessor Berke Khan. He would let his faith often shape his foreign policy to large degrees, and thus he continued his hostility against the Ilkhanate, whom he perceived (correctly) as the oppressors of the Muslim people in the Middle East. He also welcomed Al-Hakim I, son of the dubious Al-Mustansir, claimant to the Abbasid Caliphate. As per the terms of the previous treaty between the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde, the Golden Horde was to renounce these “caliphs”. Nogai’s failure to do so enraged Abaqa Khan who beat his chest and threatened war.
Kublai Khan, who was newly confirmed as supreme ruler of the Mongols hordes commenced his invasion of Song China, sweeping far south (even farther than in our time line) cutting deep gashes into the Song Empire along the Yangtze.
In Italy the Papal Conclave to replace Pope Urban IV there were two primary groups of debating cardinals: Those who wished to continue the Papacy’s vindictive war against the Hohenstaufen family and those who thought such a war would be inappropriate considering the presence of a Hohenstaufen as the supreme leader of the Crusading World. Ultimately the latter group prevailed, electing Bertrand de Saint-Martin as Pope Pius II. This was met with great contention among the other cardinals and in order to avoid even a possible civil war in the Church a compromise was reached- they would not openly support and encourage Charles of Anjou’s quest to conquer Sicily, yet they also would not deny nor discourage his ambitions. It was due to this decision Louis IX felt morally clear to aid his brother in his conquest of Sicily. Louis IX was going to do this because if Charles conquered Sicily, he promised within six months time he would raise a crusading army and aid Louis IX in his “liberation” of North Africa. Thus Louis IX commissioned a tax in his realm (met with much anger) that would seek to raise money for a new crusade to reclaim North Africa for the people of Christendom.
Manfred’s armies immediately ceased their invasion of the Papal States to double back to Sicily in an attempt to protect it from the aggressors from France. On his way to assail Manfred’s armies, Charles of Anjou stopped in Rome. While the Papacy continued its ambivalence, the people loved him. They crowned him as an honorary senator, and gave him the keys to the city. Curiously, Manfred stalled in Benevento, hunting wild game. He underestimated Charles’ armies, and thought he had been seriously demoralized by the loss of the Papacy. He had, but his brother’s aid seriously bolstered his confidence. Near the end of this year the armies were nearing a showdown in the hills of southern Italy.
In Iberia, the armies of Castile were stopped by the Moors in their march south, while Aragon experienced several successes in their fight against the Muslims. This year the Genoese and Venetian conflict slowly waned to a conclusion, as both sides tired of fighting a counter-productive war. It was resolved by a general shift of power, with the Genoese being greatly strengthened on the Aegean but the Venetians taking a position of power in the Levant like never before. For their cooperation, Venice gifted Pisa some bits of the former Republic of Naxos. While there was a temporary peace, there was still a tremendous amount of shared enmity between these two maritime republics, and doubtless war would come again. Sweden and the Rus began forging ties against their shared enemy, the Golden Horde. They felt it had been critically weakened and was susceptible to a strong strike.
Valdemar, King of Sweden, forged several secret alliances with Novgorod Republic and the Duchy of Tver. Europe was nervous, anticipating Nogai Khan’s future assault on them
1266: At the dawn of this year the Kingdom of Egypt was overjoyed with the birth of Kitbuqa’s first child, daughter Mary. The addition of potential heirs is aiding in the stabilization of Egypt after new rule, yet Kitbuqa remains nervous about his post-mortem state of affairs and those of his kingdom, and shall remain so unless he conceives a son. Also this year Kitbuqa has imposed a dhimmi-style tax on non-Christians (it is slightly less burdensome than those of the Ottomans. This is because Kitbuqa is merely testing the waters of anti-Muslim legislation and if this succeeds likely harsher taxes will come in the future. The tax is called Homage, and forces non-Christians (and some apostolic branches) to pay 10% of their income to the Egyptian government. This is mostly intended to be a raiser of revenue rather than the beginning of a movement to convert all Muslims. Egypt has long been a diverse and cosmopolitan state and this likely will not change now. The royal family is Nestorian, the Aristocrats and upper class are Orthodox and some Catholics, and the lower class (encompassing 75-80% of the population) is Sunni. It is a volatile situation to be sure, and Kitbuqa will not press his luck.
Additionally in the Levant this year, large amounts of westerners have begun an emigration to Outremer, many excited by the entrepreneurial opportunities a Christian Egypt offers them. Now that open warfare between Venice and Genoa has waned to a virtual halt, trade is prospering throughout the Mediterranean. In the Kingdom of Jerusalem, it is clear King Conrad III (I de facto, II de jure after his absentee father. Called Conradin [little Conrad] by many of his friends, he discourages this sort of familiarity with his subjects. Correctly, he believes the show of familiarity undermines his authority. Yet, to the end of his days he was called Conradin by close friends and family) is attempting to assert his authority over Cyprus through his friendship with the submissive and sickly Hugh II. Eventually, he hopes to make a move similar to the one his ancient ancestor Godfrey de Bouillon did with the Duchy of Lower Lorraine and claim it for himself.
Additionally in this year, the Kingdom of Jerusalem purchased some minor land to the East from the Ilkhanate, expanding into Syria, Lebanon, and Arabia further. Kublai Khan was pleased this year with the arrival of some curious emissaries from Europe named Niccolo and Mafeo Polo. They arrived, and he sent them back to Europe with request of official dignitaries from all notable European countries to come reside in the Mongol Court. The Ilkhanate has stepped up raids into the Nejd, perhaps preparing for a full on invasion and conquest of Arabia. It is one of the few Middle Eastern lands that has denied them thus far, and would likely be an easy conquest for their hordes. Abaqa Khan also has officially proclaimed Christianity as one of the three official sanctioned religions of the Ilkhanate, along with Buddhism and traditional Mongol paganism. His wife this year gave birth to a son as well, whom he named John, and he was also baptized as Christian. This was in respect to the religion of his wife, mother, and allies. To the north, the armies of Nogai Khan commenced an invasion of Hungary, overrunning the country in a matter of months. Nogai Khan needs a distraction from his current power grab in the Golden Horde. He is fighting a minor civil war against Mengu-Timur, designated successor of the Golden Horde. Mengu-Timor supports the individual rights of the Mongol vassals, particularly the Russians. He also was close to courting the Genoese on his side. As a response, Nogai sold Caffa to the Genoese, expanding their dominions in the Black Sea. He has also staged some exercises even further to the south, damaging the interior territory of Romania, and threatening the newly reformed Byzantine Empire. This has been greeted with a great amount of bluster from Nogai Khan, and he threatens to pursue action against the Golden Horde and its leaders.
Abaqa Khan is enraged by this action against the Christians of Europe, but also likely wants to prick Nogai in the side. Nogai Khan has flat out refused and rejects the authority of Abaqa. Abaqa has now sent emissaries to the court of the Great Khan Kublai to ask them to force Nogai to stop his actions against the “good Christians of Eastern Europe”. Nogai surprisingly adheres to the demands of Kublai Khan, likely because he wants to respect the authority of the central Mongol authority, and will gain much needed approval because the Great Khan was still upset over the Golden Horde’s support of Ariq Böke in his recent civil war. Al-Hakim is preaching Holy War against the Ilkhanate, and many Christian hot-heads share a like sentiment. War seems increasingly likely to break out again between these two empires, and this time the result is should be much more decisive. The Kingdom of Jerusalem is becoming very wealthy and prosperous, because there are many native Europeans there, and it is in perfect situation to exploit the new necessity and ease of trade between the multitude of European states and their Mongolian counterparts to the east. They are quickly regaining their powerful and profitable position of trading center in the Near East that they possessed in the 12th century. Conradin finds himself hailed as the first true successor of Godfrey de Bouillon in the Kingdom since Fulk or even Amalric. Many of the once downright explosive elements in the Kingdom have quieted down, but everything could go to hell again if the local economic fortunes of Jerusalem take a turn for the worse. For now, much of the Near East is in a very tenuous position.
When we turn back to Europe, Charles of Anjou (bolstered by the arms and money of his brother) has scored a decisive victory over Manfred. He has now advanced into Sicily, and more or less secured total control. At the end of the year, Pope Pius II somewhat happily invested him in Rome as the new King of Sicily and Naples. In Northern Europe, Haakon of Norway renewed military action against Scotland in their war over the Hebrides and the other Norse island possessions.
1267: It seems this decade is destined to go down as one of the most sanguinary in the history of all men living. The Eighth Crusade was launched out of Sicily in February of the year from Charles of Anjou’s bases in Sicily. Manfred was executed in January in Palermo, despite the protestations of many major figures. Conradin was both pleasured and disquieted by this development, as while he dislikes Manfred for stealing from his rightful crown as the King of Sicily, he also fears this new charismatic and ruthlessly ambitious Charles of Anjou. A large French force (with some Sicilian auxiliaries) landed in Tunis. They chose Tunis as the spot for their first siege because Kitbuqa was going to commit a large force sent west from Egypt. Him and Charles of Anjou planned to split much of the land conquered. The forces of France landed in Tunis in March, and planned to arrive at the same time as Kitbuqa’s force. Unfortunately, like many of the medieval expeditions poor communications plagued these forces.
Kitbuqa’s force suffered some initial surprising defeats against Hebib tribes of Cyrenaica. Much of his hardened Mongol core had been softened by the life of luxury and ease that had been offered in Egypt, and this was a scary wake-up call to Kitbuqa, due to the former invincibility of his Mongol forces. Unfortunately for the armies of Egypt, their forces were now comprised of infamously disloyal Mamelukes (who were proving very difficult to get rid of, despite the best efforts of Kitbuqa. They were bringing in new boys from Rum all the time, and several semi-autonomous fealties were currently functioning along the Nile valley. Kitbuqa would just go for an all out purge of the Mamelukes, but he would likely then have a civil war in his hands in a hugely diverse country that could be impossible to ever reunify. So for now, he had to put up with them) and there was also a majority of weak Egyptian levy infantry.
Besides the Mongols themselves, dedicated Coptic and Nestorian Christians formed the core of the army. They knew that if they wanted to maintain their elite social status in the new Egypt they would have to prove themselves. There was also some contingent of knights from Jerusalem and Germany that had failed to link up with Louis the IX’s force. This military defeated changed Kitbuqa’s mind; if he had formerly been hesitant to pursue this campaign all the way across North Africa, he now knew that in order to maintain the élan of his fighting force (of nearly 50,000!) he would have to sate its internecine thirst for glory. After their grueling and slow march in Cyrenaica, the armies were tired and unready for another fierce resistance by the warriors of the Banu Sulaym (to be specific, the Debab tribe) in Tripolitania. They encountered savagery to a surprising level for many of the cosmopolitan Egyptians, but the Mongols responded in kind. They were delayed one month (and plus another three after Cyrenaica and a slower start than expected) off of their schedule, but pursued a near-genocidal path through Cyrenaica. This left the crusader force stranded and alone in Tunis, and many in the force lost heart.
Louis IX and his armies laid siege to Tunis, but without the aid of Kitbuqa’s armies great progress was very difficult. Muhammed I Al-Mustansir (Lord of Tunis and the Hafsid Dynasty) was expected by Louis IX to convert to Christianity almost immediately upon assault, or landfall in North Africa. Unfortunately for the expedition, he did not. The crusader army laid siege to Tunis, and after one horribly unsuccessful attempt at storming the city, they had mostly settled in and were attempting to starve the city out. Charles of Anjou was becoming increasingly impatient with this slow campaign, and was trying to bribe the Zayyanids to invade, in return for territorial concessions. Louis IX would have been opposed to his brothers unholy scheming, but he was far too busy leading his soldiers in group prayer sessions, begging Him to deliver Tunis into their deserving hands. The armies began to doubt that their Mongol allies would ever arrive, and the force teetered on the brink of mutiny even as the armies of Kitbuqa were mere weeks away.
In Spain Castile and Portugal jointly launched new assaults in the crusader spirit against the Almohads, making some progress to the south.
If we turn temporarily to the far north, Magnus VI has invaded Scotland in a dispute over the Hebrides and the Orkney islands. He has surprisingly met with success, calling up the massive Norse farmer levy for the first time in years and surprising the Scots. He has won a handful of decisive victories in the highlands. Temporarily the campaigns have been stopped for winter, but it will not last very long. Towards late August, Kitbuqa’s force arrived in Tunis. The crusader armies were unified, and many began to refer to Kitbuqa as the new Prester John. As September dawned both armies began to make preparations for the breach and seizure of Tunis.
As a preface, in North Africa September is still very hot, and very moist. If you were to sustain a wound, chances of it festering and becoming infected are tragically high. Of course the crusaders knew nothing of this, and even if they had they would have likely disregarded it. In the battle for Tunis, the fighting grew vicious, and at times it seemed like the depleted Egyptian and French armies might be repulsed. At this point both Louis IX and Kitbuqa entered the battle. This decisively improved morale and turned the tide of the fight. As the vanguards were storming the citadel though, Kitbuqa sustained an arrow wound to his left flank. Although he advanced with his soldiers, he was seriously wounded. After the battle, in the usual rapine that ensued after a key victory (abetted minimally by Louis IX) Kitbuqa was nowhere to be found. Charles of Anjou was about to behead Muhammad the caliph, but Louis IX intervened at the last moment and saved the life of their “honorable” opponent. Muhammad I-Al Mustansir became a captive of the crusader camp, but was treated with the utmost respect by the holy Louis. Returning to Kitbuqa, the morning after victory, he was found resting in his tent. He had a scar over a foot long, and had haphazardly removed the arrow himself. Yet even then he did not have much time to rest.
The Zayannid force recruited by Charles of Anjou had arrived a mere the very dawn of the second day after the fall of Tunis. They were given neither their allotted share or any sort of territorial recompense was even to be thought of. To pile tension on that, neither Louis IX nor Kitbuqa had any idea why they were here. Eventually the Zayannids demanded Tunis be granted to them (they also would have accepted a huge ransom, but that was beyond the current reach of all parties). The Crusader army outright refused this demand without any deliberation, and with their bluff called the Zayannids retreated to form up battle lines. The ensuing battle was won with Mongol shock tactics and French chivalry. With decisive victories over both the Zayannids, Hafsids, and Berber tribes the Eighth Crusade is destined to be remember as one filled with great successes.
At a council of the three great leaders of this campaign, it was generally agreed that once the territory had been secured southward and westward, Tunisia would be given to Charles’ Sicilian Kingdom and most of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica would be added to Egypt. Sadly, sickness and the Devil would perhaps conspire to both sadden this great occasion and undermine the gains all of Christendom made. As he always did, to inspire his troops Kitbuqa entered the battle at the head of his army. As he fought his way through the Zayannid infantry, a spear drove through him, directly in the side that was so grievously injured in the siege and taking of Tunis. He withdrew with some of his bodyguard to the rear of the battle. Though the battle was won it became clear Kitbuqa’s health was in dire straits. At the end of this year Kitbuqa was holding on to his life by a thread, and prayers were sent from every corner of the world that his health would recover against all odds.
In the Near East Jerusalem continued to prosper, and Cyprus asserted itself and its trading rights against the Genoans, because Outremer was no longer totally dependent on the Italians. The Genoese recouped many of these losses by pandering to the Byzantines and the Golden Horde. Tension between the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate has now begun to broil over into near war, as the Golden Horde and Nogai Khan continue their brutal oppression of the Russian Christians. Abaqa Khan, leader of the Ilkhanate has demanded they stop, but he has largely been ignored much to his chagrin. While Nogai has continued to raid deeper and deeper into both Tver and has even sacked some of the cities of the Novgorod Republic the Ilkhanate has also committed its share of atrocities. It has recently pillaged its way into Anatolia, deposing the current Sultan of Rum and instituting a new more submissive puppet ruler.
In Arabia, Mongol armies have threatened Medina and Mecca. The increasingly Islamized Golden Horde has given an ultimatum – If Medina and Mecca are sacked, it is war-. Upon receiving this message, Abaqa Khan is said to have laughed, and proclaimed “So much anger over a religion of lies and false magic.”
In China the conquests of Kubilai continue, and he has now encountered fierce Song opposition on the Yangzhou River. If he can push across, it will be the death knoll for the Song dynasty. At the dawn of this year the capital was transferred from Karakorum to Beijing, sparking a revolt in Karakorum that successfully repulsed the forces of Kubilai. The coup members secured control and won a minor battle against a division of one of Kubilai’s minor tumens to wrest control of all of inner Mongolia. A Yuan strategy for an attack against these rebels has yet to be decided, and Kubilai may decide to come to terms with them yet.
1268: Tragically so soon after their last civil war, internecine conflicts have yet again erupted amongst the great Mongol empires. When news of the sack of Medina reached Nogai Khan, he entered into a terrifying rage, destroying much of his valuables in his chambers. Almost immediately, a large invasion horde was deployed, preparing for an invasion of the Ilkhanate through the Caucasus. Abaqa Khan was surprised upon hearing the news, and immediately moved all of his available forces north for a confrontation in the Caucasus. Among the semi-independent vassals of the Ilkhan, Antioch, and Cilicia were among the first to answer, being the most grateful and loyal of the Ilkhan’s vassals. Rum sent a small monetary sum, and the forces in Egypt were temporarily indisposed, due to their participation in the Eighth Crusade. This left the Kingdom of Jerusalem as the sole protected vassal who had not sent a contingent of knights or men-at-arms to aid in the fight against the Golden Horde. While a small amount of their nobles had embarked on the Eighth Crusade, it was not nearly a significant enough number to prevent a general levy from being called up. When notified of this in the fall of 1268, Abaqa was furious, and immediately sent a letter demanding forces be sent to aid in the fight. After briefly convening with his advisors and regent council Conradin realized it any declaration of independence would be extremely premature, and sent a small army north under the nominal command of the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order, Anoo of Sangerhausen. He was chosen because of his close ties with Cilicia. From there forth, this would be known as the Humiliation of Jerusalem. It is unclear whether Conradin and his regents expected the Mongols to permit such egregious violations of their feudal treaties due to the somewhat elevated and “different” status of their relationships, or whether they merely misinterpreted the nature of the states relationship. Regardless, this incident made it clear that the Ilkhanate expected Jerusalem’s obedience, and it was resentfully given, at least for now.
The forces collided south of the Caucausus, after Nogai Khan’s armies spread rapine and destruction throughout much of Abaqa’s land. Unfortunately for the Ilkhanate, the first battle of the war was a disaster. Luckily, it was little more than a skirmish. A minor raiding force sent by Abaqa under the command of a minor cavalry commander, through poor communication, ran directly into the middle of the Golden Horde’s army. Needless to say they were smashed. Most of the gains Nogai Khan’s armies have made have been reversed, yet his armies have raped and murdered there ways through the lands they come in. It will likely take decades for the Armenian population to fully recover here. There were no decisive military battle, yet Abaqa’s force is hot in pursuit and gaining, and it seems likely the conflict will see a key exchange by next year.
The other conflict between Mongols this year (but not the only other one involving them!) occurred in the Far East. As the Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan pursues an extermination of the Ming, their forces have been largely distracted from ongoing troubles in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. The arrival of Muslim engineers from the periphery of the empire has allowed the armies of the Yuan Dynasty to create massive siege weapons capable of destroyed the walls of the Song fortresses that have denied them thus far. The Yuan triumphed in the siege of Xianyeng and are making deep, strong, hard, and long thrusts into the Song heartland. So while the Yuan are making great successes in their conquests of China, it has become a strategic impossibility for them to send a large enough force to reclaim Mongolia from the clique supported by the Chagatai Khanate currently ruling. This clique in Mongola is mainly comprised of Torghut elders, and old-school Mongolian families opposed to settling down and assuming the sedentary Chinese lifestyle. The leader of this clique was named Kaidu, head of the Ogodei family and a hardcore Mongol traditionalist. He had been a staunch support of the late Ariq Böke in his civil war against Kublai Khan.
While Kublai was alarmed by these developments in Mongolia, the clique had merely claimed independence from the Yuan, and did not purport Kaidu as the new Great Khan of the Mongol Khanates. This would also delay a Yuan response to this rebellion against their authority. Reactions from the other Mongol Khanates were varied; The Chagatai Khanate and Ilkhanate resumed their traditionalist and pro-Kublai positions respectively. The Golden Horde was at first hesitant to declare in support of the Mongolian clique, because of how sorely Ariq Böke and his supporters were defeated in the previous war. But, after the Ilkhanate denounced the members of the clique and Kaidu, the Golden Horde was quick to make clear their support for the members of the coup. The Chagatai Khanate began raiding on the periphery of the Ilkhanate, with Abaqa Khan largely unable to respond due to his commitments against the Golden Horde. This year, many of the sticky strategic difficulties of defending and maintaining such a massive empire have become apparent to the Ilkhan. Later this year even Egypt was to add to his woes, as I will elaborate upon now.
In Tunisia the Eighth Crusade has begun to wind down, and while there was some talk of conquering Zayannid Africa most talk of such an expedition ended when it became clear Kitbuqa was totally incapable of any further campaigning. Indeed Kitbuqa’s health continued to deteriorate until he was capable of nothing except breathing and lying in bed. Some of his leading Mongol generals began to assert their claims to superiority, knowing that likely the whole state of Egypt would begin to collapse if their iron-fisted ruler were to pass away. Finally, on the ides of March in the year of our lord 1268 Kitbuqa passed away in his bed, ceding his kingdom’s regency (for his beloved daughter Maria) to Khugen, one of his most trusted lieutenants and devoted Nestorian Christian. Immediately, Toghrul, an independent power, refused to become subordinate to Khugen unless Abaqa Khan was to personally confirm as King of Egypt. Khugen recognized the weakness of his position, and temporarily recognized Toghrul and his tribes sovereignty. To Khugen’s surprise, they elected to stay in North Africa and try and establish a separate nation for themselves in Tripolitania. Also, it was clear the Toghrul had conspired with some of the Coptic members of the army, promising them land if they stayed with him. A large minority did, infuriating Khugen who was incapable to stop this defection.
It was decided that Kitbuqa’s corpse would travel with Louis IX (who was leaving Tunisia in the hands of his brother Charles, and travelling to Jerusalem for pilgrimage) and his fleet and small group of elite retainers, so that Kibuqa might be swiftly preserved and prepared for funeral in Alexandria. After this, the armies of France largely returned to France (there was a small amount of military settlers who decided to stay) and only the Sicilian soldiers and other retainers of Charles, King of Sicily and Africa remained. Charles was able to fairly easily incorporate Tunisia into his growing Kingdom (for those of who have lost track, Naples, Sicily, and now Tunisia) because it was a prosperous region and the crushing of the previous regime had already been done quite handily and thoroughly for him. He also this year began to supply the few remaining Latin Kingdoms in the Aegean in their defense against the onslaught from Michael VIII Palaiologus, who this year launched an expedition to attempt to conquer the Genoese supported Duchy of Athens. Extremely surprisingly, this expedition featured collaboration between Venetians and Byzantines.
Returning to North Africa, a handful of weeks into the Egyptian armies return journey, on a hunting expedition with some of his Coptic, Mameluke, and Mongol officers the Mamluks (true to form) made a near successful attempt on Khugen’s life. Immediately the Mamluks, realizing their failure, separated their regiments loyal to them from the general army. It was now clear to everyone, upon arrival there would be civil war in Egypt. And indeed there was. With the aid of mercenaries from the Italian maritime states, and at the end of the year a slow trickle of soldiers from the military orders (especially the Hospitallers) Khugen has managed to establish basic rule over the north of Egypt, centered around Alexandria. Unfortunately, he is being beaten badly, and is begging the Ilkhan for a force of several tumens (which Abaqa can currently ill-afford with his conflicts with both the Golden Horde AND the Chagatai Khanate). In the south, there are two principal Mameluke successor states, one stretching as far north, tenuously holding Cairo. There is another, more entrenched and southerly one centered around Aswan. The Coptics have also made moves to establish their own seat of government (based around Al-Qusair) near the Red Sea, which is currently engulfed in anarchy and fighting between Crusaders, Coptics, and Mamelukes.
In Cyrenaica, the Mongols and Mamelukes are fighting over influence each with their own set of Berber allies. In Jerusalem, Conradin was wed a week after his sixteenth birthday to the twenty-four year old Margeret of Lusignan. She is a beautiful girl, and they are truly in love as Conradin is one of the handsomest young men of his generation. This marriage unifies the elder and younger houses of Jerusalem, through Yolanda and Alice respectively. Generally, chaos reigns across the East.
If we turn to Germany, there has been a momentous occasion and reason for celebration for all of those who prize unity across Christendom. Acknowledging the huge power of Rudolph I, head of the house of Habsburg, the various petty lords of Germany convened a council to elect a new emperor. By a slim margin Rudolph was elected, and is immediately making new bulls to reassert imperial power. The opponents of centralized imperial power, centered under Ottakar of Bohemia have promised war. Hungary has also joined the fray in this conflict, attacking their traditional enemy Ottakar in a land grab. It is thought Stephen, king of Hungary, may have poisoned his elderly father Bela to get into this war, because Bela was opposed to any war against Ottokar, who was the husband of his favorite daughter. He died in a very timely fashion, yet Stephen consolidate his power quickly enough that he was still able to act decisively against Ottokar. An army was on the march to lay siege to Vienna by the end of this year. Norway has continued its war against Scotland, winning major victories and asserting hegemony over large swathes of the highland. Fearing English intervention, the Scottish king has granted Norway all of the Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland, the Isle of Man, and most surprisingly, granted them the port of Wick.
1269: Egypt continued its collapse into statelessness this year, with the addition of yet more factions and armies. Early this year, Gaza and the Suez fell to one of the Mameluke revival states. While previously, Jerusalem had been somewhat apathetic to Egypt, even happy to see it tear itself apart so that Jerusalem may pick up the pieces, Conradin has realized a few things: One, that a Mameluke dominated Egyptian could likely dominate them in the future as they have done in the past, two, that the Ilkhanate’s current annoyance with Jerusalem may be somewhat assuaged by seeing them to intervene to protect the Mongols in Egypt, and finally that there were border territories completely up for the taking. With those thoughts in mind Conradin (or as he will be referred to from now on, Conrad III of Jerusalem, Conrad I being his absentee father) led an army into the Suez with the intention of both stabilizing Egypt and enlarging Christian Outremer. His forces arrived in the Suez on his seventeenth birthday, March 25th. In the battle of the Sinai there were roughly 6000 Mamluk soldiers, while the Kingdom of Jerusalem had a host of around 1,500 knights and 12,000 men-at-arms. The men loved Conrad, and he was a dynamic and youthful leader. They won a decisive victory over the Mamelukes, yet it was at a high cost of men. Conrad III was an inexperienced military leader but not a stupid one. There are high hopes all over Outremer that his rules would prove to be a long and sagacious one. The newly conquered lands were set up as a the new County of the Sinai, under the deposed Balian of Ibelin.
Then, an expedition was sent into Egypt, to aid the Mongol state in northern Egypt. Upon arrival in Alexandria (intended to relieve a siege of Alexandria by Muslim forces) Conrad III of Jerusalem met with Khugen, Khan of Egypt. It was decided that Euphrosyne Palaeologus and her three year old daughter Maria of Egypt would return to Jerusalem with Conradin’s army, because Northern Egypt was a dangerous warzone, and an improper place for a queen and the heiress to Egypt to be residing. After some minor raids down the Nile River Valley, most of the armies of Conradin returned to Jerusalem. Some continued to defend the Mongol state in north Egypt which was now nearing collapse. In addition to the two Mameluke states, an Ayyubid successor state had been established on the Red Sea, promising fair treatment to the Coptic Christians who had been oppressed. It was ruled by the exiled Ayyubid sultan of Hama, Al-Muzaffer Umar. This Ayyubid state had also begin to consolidate some territory on the eastern side of the Red Sea, and was attempting to take Mecca and Medina. Many of the petty states of this area willingly joined the Ayyubid dynasty, because it was a stronger state, more likely to be able to resist Mongol raids in the Holy Land than the weak and small tribes of the area. Of the two Mameluke states, one was smaller, centered around the middle Nile valley with its capital at Cairo. It largely fought with the Ayyubids and the Ayyubid successor state and had a temporary alliance with the other Mameluke state to the south. The southern Mameluke state was less populated but covered a far greater area. It was more a coalition of minor warlords who were dedicated to driving out the Christians, while the Cairo state was nominally a regency for Baibars’ firstborn and only son Al-Said Barakah. This other state stretched from a few miles north ofthe second cataract of the Nile River, and held its capital at Aswan. This state tenuously held some territory on the Red Sea, and even stretched northwards into Cyrenaica and fought with the Mongols of Tripolitania over the dessert of Fezzan. One of the major threats to them was the resurgent state of Makuria to the south. Having been a victim of Egyptian raids for hundreds of years, it was now attempting to repay the favor and raiding up the Nile. Despite the high hopes of so many after its conquest by Kitbuqa, Egypt was degenerating into a war-torn state, where the chances for reunification appear to be more and more dismal.
Elsewhere in North Africa, the Khanate of Tripolitania signed an agreement defining their borders with Charles of Anjou. Speaking of Charles of Anjou, he had recently signed a guarantee of protection from the Byzantines to the Duchy of Achaea. He also ransomed Baldwin II of Constantinople from Emperor Michael VII Palaeologus for a hefty sum, delivering Baldwin and his family to Palermo. Charles forced Baldwin to betroth his son to Charles’ daughter and sign a treaty largely partitioning his rights (if he were to succeed to power in Constantinople once again) between him and Charles. In a further flurry of activity, Charles sent a small expedition to the Duchy of Athens, in an attempt to help them resist Byzantine aggressions. Ironically, the very money that Charles paid to secure Baldwin II’s release gave the Byzantines funds to fight off his own forces in Athens. In December of 1269 Athens was besieged by Byzantine forces, and Charles of Anjou was calling for a crusade against the Byzantines, which largely fell on deaf ears. In north Italy Charles continues to make moves trying to consolidate his power, worrying some (the Papacy, cough) that he may be aiming for a single unified Italian Kingdom.
Farther east, the massive wars between the Mongol Khanates continue to rage. As many predicted, the forces of the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde met this year in a tremendous battle right before the Zangezur Mountains, entrance into the heartland of the Ilkhanate. If the Golden Horde would win this battle, they would have a basically clear path to the Ilkhanate’s capital of Marageh. There were already some tentative preparations for evacuation, and the garrison had been reinforced. In the battle of Kapan, the forces of the Ilkhan and Nogai met. There were tens of thousands of men on each side, and Nogai Khan was a brilliant general in his own right, while Abaqa Khan (the Ilkhan) was surrounded by some of the brightest military council ever. The Ilkhanate had roughly 100,000 men on their side, while the Golden Horde had under their command some 80,000. The army of the Ilkhanate was diverse, well motivated, and supplied. The Golden Horde’s army was in a state of near starvation, for the Ilkhanate had adopted a scorched earth policy intended to deny them much needed victuals for their horses and men. Ultimately in the battle the Ilkhanate triumphed, winning the battle with the arrival of their loyal Armenian reserve of thousands. This fresh group of men broke the morale of the Golden Horde’s armies and secured a defining victory for the Ilkhanate. Casualties on both sides were tremendous. Clergy on both sides had proclaimed this a holy war and raiding forces of the Golden Horde had been destroying churches in Turkey, the Caucasus, and in Cilicia (where some minor raiding forces arrived, and scared the life out of Hethouem).
In Trebizond, the Golden Horde sacked the wealthy trading city out of sheer malice and greed, because it was not even affiliated with the Ilkhanate. The Ilkhanate also had blood on its hands, with its vicious oppression of the Muslims under their rule across the Middle-East, and their razing of Medina and Baghdad. Both of these factors made for a vicious battle, and there were terrible atrocities on both sides. Ultimately the Golden Horde suffered a defeat, albeit not an insurmountable one. In other fronts of their war with the Ilkhanate, they were also driven back. By the end of the year, most of the forces of Nogai Khan were on the northern side of the Caucasus and preparing a defense of their homeland from the massive armies of the Ilkhan.
On the eastern front of the Mongol Civil War, the Chagatai Khanate invaded eastern Persia and Turkestan, encountering only modest resistance from the Ilkhanate, which was mostly occupied with dealing with the Golden Horde. They made some progress at heavy expenses in life. On the northern front of the Mongol War the Duchy of Tver has made some good progress on reclaiming much of the land the Golden Horde has occupied. The Novgorod Republic has also been enticed into the war upon hearing of the Golden Horde’s defeat in the battle of Kapan, yet they had not dispatched any major military force yet. Rebellions erupted across the Golden Horde, including a particularly violent one in Suzdal. The Vladimir-Suzdal principality has taken on a sanguinary policy towards Mongol bureaucrats, killing any they can find. Largely the collaborationist policies of Alexander Nevsky have been forsaken, and he will likely never take a spot as a revered figure in Russian history the way he did in our time-line.
On another front of the Mongol civil wars, Kaidu, leader of independent Mongolia began fighting with the forces of the Yuan dynasty when he attempted to assert himself and his clique in Manchuria. Already they have established their rule in Mongolia and into some of Siberia and the great plains. This rebellion has come at bad time for Kublai Khan, who is in the middle of his (albeit successful) push into Song China. The Song dynasty is on its last legs, and having lost the wealthy Yangtze River basin is in dire straits. Fortunately for them, it seems they may have found temporary relief as Kublai dispatches more of his forces northwards to deal with the rebellion of the Mongolian traditionalists. He finally realizes the seriousness of this rebellion, and is even experiencing some minor discontent among his own soldiers. He realizes that it would be difficult to simply ignore this power on his northern border, and does not think he will be able to maintain his gains in China for long if his homeland is not secure. It is already somewhat effected his manpower reserves, and the Golden Horde and Chagatai Khanate have renounced him as the Great Khan.
Venturing far to the west now, the Marinid Dynasty of Morocco is now the supreme Muslim power in all of North Africa, and possibly even the world. They have invaded the Zayannids, who were crushed by the Crusader forces the previous year, and have made good progress in conquering their kingdom.
In Germany their civil war rages on. The Hungarians have won a battle against Ottokar II of Bohemia, undermining his claims in Hungary. Stephen V has been sent monetary support from Rudolph Habsburg to bribe some of his more troublesome and disloyal vassals. A joint force of Hungarians and the forces of Rudolph Habsburg, threatening Ottokar’s hold over southern Germany, besiege Vienna. Across the Empire there is war, yet the forces of Rudolph I have gained a decisive advantage by now. It seems that an end to the long Interregnum is nearing.
In France, King Louis IX has returned to his kingdom after several lengthy absences, restoring order and appears rejuvenated and has the energy of a man half his considerable age.
End of Book I
April 18th, 2010, 01:58 PM
Book 2: All’s Well That Ends Well
Chapter IV: All That Comes Up Must Come Down
“Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labor to him?”
JOB XXXIX, 11
Note: Past this point, all divergences from the historical timeline are not detailed. Such an attempt would be time-consuming and ultimately futile. One should generally assume things have progressed normally unless detailed here, or if a divergence seems somewhat obvious.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem has experienced intense growth in these five years, growing into a relatively self-sufficient country feeding itself on the grain of Oultrejourdain and made a nice profit importing rare Palestinian produce and sugar to Italy. Almost the sugar consumed in Europe is produced in Outremer. They also had favored trading status in Mongol Egypt, and were the only available trader for the Mamelukes (especially for their absolutely vital new Turkish slaves, a distasteful trade to be sure), so they made a tidy profit there, especially with wood They made a huge amount of money importing and then exporting goods from all of the diverse luxuries from Asia and the nearer hinterlands. The Middle-East is united and relatively prosperous, leading to ideal conditions for trade. Militarily, the Kingdom of Jerusalem has not fought besides some minor raids into Egypt to prevent the fall of the Mongol state in northern Egypt. Some of the military orders have been campaigning for a full expedition to conquer Egypt, because they have been losing funds because people in Europe see Frankish Outremer as being basically “safe” and not in danger of falling. His marriage with Margaret Lusignan has yet to produce issue. In Cyprus, Hugh II is increasingly submissive to the wishes of Conradin, who he is completely devoted to. This frightens many of the main leaders for Cypriot independence, especially as Hugh II’s wife remains barren. Cilicia has been granted some more land in the north of Anatolia for their extreme loyalty to the Ilkhanate, and many of their soldiers are still in Russia.
The various sectarian factions of Egypt have become more entrenched, with the four principal Muslim and Mongol groups establishing power, and the Kingdom of Makuria in Nubia is also a major player. Mecca and Medina have been captured by the revivalist Ayyubid Dynasty along the Red Sea, giving them a position of great moral authority among the factions. The Mongol faction in north Egypt is basically now a vassal state of Jerusalem with little more than Alexandria to its name. Their position has been undermined by the increasing willingness of the Muslim factions to make large concessions to the Coptics, who along with the Ayyubids appear to be the only real winners in the war thus far. The Ilkhanate has been thus far been unable to send aid to its struggling comrades in Egypt because of its own wars with the Golden Horde and Chagatai Khanate, which have wound down.
In the rest of North Africa, the Mongol khan Toghrul of Tripolitania have obtained official designation from Abaqa as a vassal khanate of the Ilkhanate. Charles of Anjou is consolidating is reign in Tunisia. He is also scheming to ally with the Marinid Sultanate, who are now the rulers of all of North Africa west of Tunis. With so many strong powers in the Eastern Mediteranean and already having been thwarted in some of his designs on the Byzantine Empire, he thinks he will go to the Western Mediterranean to satisfy some of his power-lust. He has consolidated a great deal of power in Piedmont, and even is making some conquests in Tuscany. The Guelphs have experienced great success with Charles, but it seems the Pope is beginning to fear his great power.
In Germany, Rudolph and his Hungarian allies have made great progress against Ottokar of Bohemia and his minions. In 1275 a new election was called, in light of great Hungarian and Habsburg against the anti-imperial forces. Alfonso X of Castile was paid to renounce his claim as the King of the Romans and Ottokar had been thoroughly subdued. Rudolph was crowned by virtue of the Reichstag in Aachen in 1275 with virtually no opposition
Edward, prince and soon-to-be king of England, led a large army into Wales in 1270, with the intention of conquest instead of mere raiding. It has met with good success, and Llywelyn is forced to become a vassal of the Kingdom of Egypt, with little territory except Gwynned.
Magnus VI of Norway and Valdemar of Sweden have betrothed their first-born (son and daughter respectively) as a sign of improved relations.
The French, Spanish, and some minor German nobles launched a crusade intending to topple the growing power of the Marinid Caliphate. This crusade was a terrible failure, plagued by overconfidence, disunity, pride, and poor planning. Pope Pius II was greatly shamed by this overeager venture, and it greatly dented his prestige and that of all Christendom. This resulted in the tragic death of Phillip, son of King Louis IX of France. This leaves his son, Louis age ten, as the heir apparent in the French Kingdom. Granada, with the aid of Marinid soldiers made some minor gains against Castile and Aragon in retaliation.
The Byzantine Empire completed its conquest of the Duchy of Athens, and has recently purchased half of the former Duchy of Naxos from Genoa. The Byzantines have been making a tidy profit being the only state of the Eastern Mediterranean that isn’t a vassal of the Ilkhanate, they are able to trade freely and easily with the Golden Horde.
On an even grander scale, the war between the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde continued and began to slowly flicker out. The Ilkhanate has continued to score major victories, albeit at huge costs in men. They pushed north of the Caucasus in 1271, in 1272 they sacked the Golden Horde’s capital after the vicious battle of Sarai. In 1273, they lost the capital, only to take it again later that year. After these decisive defeats of the Golden Horde and the compromise that was reached between the Traditionalists and the Yuan in 1272 the Chagatai Khanate also made peace with the Ilkhanate. This peace defined the Persian borders of the Ilkhanate and the Chagatids. The newly freed up forces of the Golden Horde raided around the Black Sea and many of the Tumens linked up with forces of Vladimir, Tver, and Novgorod in 1274. By 1275 the Golden Horde was ready for a peace treaty to what had been one of the bloodiest wars ever. In an incredibly weak position, they were forced to cede vast amounts of territory and become a vassal to the Ilkhanate. Nogai Khan was executed for both his intrigues and crimes against Christians, and Mengu-Timur was made ruler of the Golden Horde, but Abaqa Khan was the “Khan” of the Golden Horde and was owed allegiance by Mengu-Timur. Mengu-Timur also had to marry Abaqa’s daughter Borakchin.
In China a large part of Kublai’s forces headed north to combat the Mongolians. After suffering a handful of defeats and less victories they eventually comprised. Mongolia would become a territory ruled by a council of three. The Yuan Emperor, the head of the Mongolian clique, and a respected mutual figure chosen by both. This first council was comprised of Kaidu, Kublai, and Bayan a respected general who scored many victories against the Yuan yet refused to fight fellow Mongolians. Because the returning Mongol armies were in perfect position to invade Japan and the Yuan Dynasty had already planned to do so, Kublai attacked. They successfully raided up Honshu and forced the Kamakura shogun to pay extensive tribute to the Yuan dynasty. At 1275 raids into the Song had been temporarily delayed, but resumed soon enough. Unfortunately, the Song had been given an opportunity to regroup from the Mongol onslaught and were able to provide bitter resistance.
The Ilkhanate was beset in 1276 year by a wave of Muslim uprisings that began in Damascus and quickly spread eastward throughout the khanate. They were protesting the hugely favorable treatment given to Christians and Pagans, the Muslim sack of Medina, the forced conversion of the Khan of the Golden Horde, and trying to reestablish autonomous Mongol caliphates in the religions own heartland. They are mainly spiritually led by Al-Hakim II claimed successor of the Abbasid Caliphate, who made a miraculous escape from the Golden Horde with half of the Ilkan’s army searching for him. Across the Ilkhanate the Muslims have risen up against their foreign rulers. This has become a colossal headache for Abaqa, fortunately yet only a minority have his Muslim subjects have risen up. That is still a huge number, and if the Mongol armies did not have such a tremendous advantage in skills and equipment the Ilkhanate would likely have been ejected from the Middle East by now. While this revolt is not likely to completely overthrow the Ilkhan, it is posing a serious check on him and he is presently unable to do anything besides keeping down the Muslim rebellion. This has given the Russian states a chance to pick on the disarmed Golden Horde, limited to doing little more than begging for from a liege little able to provide it. This has resulted in them largely being driven out of the territories inhabited by ‘Rus and Galicia declared independence. On the Black Sea, the Genoese have demanded more favorable trading rights or they would attack. Fortunately for the Golden Horde, on at least one front the Italians were bluffing. Embarrassed, the status quo was restored.
The Chagatai Sultanate, ashamed by its recent defeats and needing to bring military victories to awe its somewhat restive subjects into submission, commissioned an army for raids into the Delhi Mameluke Sultanate. They have met with success, and have struck fear into the heart of the Indian populace.
The Ming Dynasty scored a handful of rare victories against the weaker Yuan forces in the middle of the decade. By 1278-79 the tides had turned again, and the Ming Dynasty was clearly on its last legs. It took refuge in South China and is appealing to the Yuan for mercy.
If we turn thousands of miles to the west, in the Baltics the Teutonic Order has scored some key victories against the Lithuanians. They have been bolstered by a great upswing in interest in Crusading after the revitalization of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the magnificent successes of the Eighth Crusade. Livonia fell to them relatively easily after they humbled the Lithuanians, and they even sold some of their castles in Outremer to the Templars and Hospitallers to fund their conquests in Northern Europe.
In the aftermath of the civil war in the Holy Roman Empire, Ottokar I was not executed but suffered a fate that was perhaps, to him, worse than death. Styria was granted to the Hungarian Kingdom of Stephen V, Austria was partitioned between the Hungarians and Rudolph I with Vienna going to Rudolph. While there is now a king (even though he is invested with the lowly title King of Germany, and is not crowned by the Pope to be the Holy Roman Emperor) Germany still remains largely lawless in sections, as Rudolph does not have the strength to wipe out the robber barons yet.
Louis IX continues his profoundly Christian life. He compromised with England, refusing to cede them Auvergne yet promised assistance in their next conflict with Scotland or Norway.
Pope Pius II died in 1277, presiding over one of the longer tenures of the recent Popes. The cardinals convened in conclave, but here was exposed some of the great flaws of the medieval laity. To 1279, a Pope still had not been chosen, leaving Christianity leaderless. Several rulers took advantage of this, one of whom will elaborated upon in the next chapter.
The marriage between Conrad III of Jerusalem and Margaret Lusignan was at first happy one. Yet gradually, Conrad came to believe that his wife was utterly barren. This was a bit of a desperate situation for him and his court, as he was the last surviving Hohenstaufen, and if he was to die without having produced any issue his dynasty would become extinct and the Lusignans, his wife’s family, would inherit the throne. This consideration compounded by two factors: Primarily because his wife was nearing the end of the medieval childbearing age, and he did not want to waste any more time without an heir in a land as ripe with assassins as the Levant was. Then, the daughter of Kitbuqa (“rightful” King of Egypt as recognized by the Ilkhanate) Mary was maturing into a lady, and through her any heirs Conrad might produce would also be the Kings of Egypt. This was an extremely lucrative offer, and would even give Conrad some sort of casus belli for a proper invasion of Egypt rather than the small raids and supporting army he has sent to prop up the Mongol regime recently. Mary and her mother had been in the court of Conrad since 1269, protected from the ravages of Egypt. Conrad was an exceptionally handsome man, and Mary was already quite taken by him. He would merely need to wait a couple years for her to come-of-age properly, and he could marry her. The only obstacle to this then being his once beautiful wife, now fat, shrewish, and infertile. He knew the Pope would not grant him a divorce, for while he sympathized with Conrad and his Kingdom, Charles of Anjou who had almost complete power over the Pope supported the Lusignans. A window was opened with the extremely long Papal conclave of 1277-1281. When he wanted to divorce his wife in 1277 via Papal dispensation, he could not due to the lack of the Pope. While he was considering trying to influence the election to assure a favorable Pope ascended who would grant him a divorce he realized that this Papal conclave might continue for a while, and would be a perfect excuse to get his divorce granted by a lower, more sympathetic, authority. He turned to the Latin Archbishop of Jerusalem, Peter of Barcelona, who of course obliged the king with his divorce. Margaret was sent packing back to Cyprus, to meet with her enraged relatives. This marriage should’ve ensure, one way or another, the ascension of a Lusignan to the throne of Jerusalem. With this action, the Cypriots realized their hold over Outremer was perhaps crumbling. They made a single demand –Retake your wife, or war-. The official diplomat returned to Nicosia with both a reply and the wedding band. Hugh II, king of Cyprus, was against a war with the Conrad he worshipped, but was overruled by his powerful uncle Hugh III. The Principality of Antioch joined in the war against Jerusalem, resenting their growing supremacy in Outremer, where there had previously been parity. They justified this by claiming Conrad defied the authority of the Pope. The conflict began in 1279, with major naval battles in the Mediterranean. Due to a temporary nine year truce in Egypt, Khugen’s successor Tolui granted soldiers and ships to Jerusalem. The Venetians and the military orders supported Jerusalem as well. Charles of Anjou and some Genoans fought with the Cypriots. The Ilkhanate was unable to stop this inter-vassal conflict because of their own problems with the Muslim rebellion. There is a general stalemate, but it will not last.
In Egypt things remain largely the same, with Makurian progress and Ayyubid victories against the southern Mamelukes. After the deployment of a tumen (10,000 men) by Abaqa to aid Tolui, Mongol regent of Egypt, he made some progress, and succeeded in negotiating an advantageous truce. Half of the tumen was recalled in 1278 to aid with suppression of the rebellion.
The Byzantines completed their conquest of the Duchy of Athens this year.
The war between the Crusader states rages on. In 1280, King Conrad III launched a massive expedition into the Principality of Antioch, scoring several key victories against them. Krak Des Chevaliers, under the command of the Hospitallers, recognized Conrad’s authority and he advanced freely into Antioch. By the fall of 1280 he had laid siege to Antioch itself. After trying to take it conventionally for a month or so, Conrad became aware relief was marching up from elsewhere in the kingdom. He may have been able to fight them off regardless, but did not want to take the casualties. Thus he built a giant siege tower, but had it broke into many parts so that it could be disassembled and reassembled quickly. He assembled it facing the north side of the walls of Tripoli, and then after night fell quickly reassembled it on the southern side of the city, and attacked. The city fell with relative ease, yet the citadel held out until the Jerusalemite forces promised their free passage into Antiochene territory. This was a critical blow to the Antiochenes and largely protected Jerusalem proper from assault. In 1281 Conrad III was wedded to the fifteen year old daughter of Kitbuqa, Mary. She was crowned as the Queen of Jerusalem and Egypt in a ceremony rich with pomp in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Then, Conrad III and his armies continued on the offensive. With Antioch basically neutralized by the extensive chains of well-protected fortresses in Tripoli, an expedition was embarked to Cyprus with the aid of the Venetian fleets. By 1282, the island was largely dominated by Jerusalem, except for a few fortress holdouts including Nicosia. But then, a huge military expedition led by Charles I of Sicily and Anjou arrived. The Jerusalemites and the military orders were bested in combat after combat, largely driving them off the island. Charles even launched a few raids into Jerusalem itself. Most notably, Ascalon fell to his armies. But next is one of the great triumphs of “Byzantine” diplomacy. Andronikos II, emperor of Byzantium, realized that if Charles and the Lusignans triumphed over Jerusalem, it would leave the nakedly ambitious and powerful Charles as the most powerful man, incontestably on the Mediterranean. Charles had already showed aggressive overtures, and the Byzantine hierarchy was terrified of a re-do of the Fourth Crusade. So they did two things. The first was that they joined the war on the side of the Jerusalemites, sending men and ships to their aid. Secondly, using the Muslim fervor currently sweeping the Middle-East they encouraged a huge uprising in Tunisia (which was owned by Charles I of Sicily). This forced him to return to Africa and to recall his armies. By 1284 Cyprus had been largely subdued and the only remaining Lusignan faction state still fighting was Antioch. By this point the Byzantines had exited the war due to resumed Turkish attacks on their Anatolian border. Luckily for Conrad, a massive Islamic horde invaded Antioch intent on reclaiming it in the growing Dar-Al-Islam. The Antiochenes surrendered to Jerusalem and accept their ultimate sovereignty in return for aid against the Islamic army. Cyprus accepted full union with Jerusalem, due to the large occupying force currently stationed across their islands. In return for their aid, Jerusalem promised full military aid in any conflicts the Byzantine’s might fight themselves in for fifteen years, expanded rights for Eastern Christians, joint Orthodox and Latin rights over the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and aid in reclaiming Crete from Venice. Obviously this last clause was the most significant. Under the threat of revoked trading rights in the Levant, the threat of a three-way attack from the Genoese, Byzantines, and Jerusalem, the Venetians consented to giving up Crete in return for an autonomous trading quarter comprising one third of every single port in Cyprus. After some serious arm-wringing on the part of Andronikus, Conrad agreed to these terms. Also in 1282 Mary gave birth to a son, Godfrey. In 1284, she gave birth to twin girls named Melisende and Mary.
In 1281 a new Pope was finally elected. Rome has already adopted an aggressive policy regarding Charles of Sicily, fearing his growing hegemony over the north and south of the Italian peninsula. Even in Sardinia does Charles lay schemes. Bitter after the peace in the Levant and finally convinced his scheming in the Eastern Mediterranean had come to naught, Charles conquered the Guidicati of Gallura off some manufactured documents “proving” Capetian rights to it. He is attempting to force an alliance with the final remaining Guidicati, Arborea, offering them protection from Pisa and Genoa in return for a dynastic merger with his line. He has largely consolidated many of the northern Italian states as well, culminating with his personal union through his children into the line of Tuscany, with a helping of self-proclamation. The revolt in Tunisia was only beginning to be quelled by the most brutal of methods (some estimates say that 40% of the male Muslim population of Tunisia met their death). Yet Charles of Anjou could always find a way to make gains. The beleaguered Mongol government of Tripolitania experienced revolts that carried over into their state, and promised Charles all land west of Tripoli in return for Capetian aid. Aid was granted.
Tragedy struck Christendom in 1284 when Louis IX passed away, leaving the kingdom of France to his son Louis X of France. This man was immediately put on the fast track to canonization, beloved across Europe for his genuine and unwavering piety. Upon the stalwart king’s death, tension between England and France have begun a steady increase as revanchists in Paris seek to reclaim chunks of land in France from the English monarchy.
Abaqa Khan passed away in 1283, clearing the way for the succession of his son Arghun Khan. Momentously, Arghun is a Christian convert and was baptized in Jerusalem in 1279. He is now the most powerful Christian ruler on Earth and as the Great Muslim Rebellion of 1276 begins to show signs of weakness the first waves of Muslim converts to Christianity have started. The seat of the Nestorian Church has been moved to Marageh, the capital of the Ilkhanate. Yahballahah, Patriarch of the Eastern Church, has crowned Arghun as the official Protector of the Nestorians.
The Sultanate of Granada has become a vassal of the Marinids, to the great chagrin of Castile.
The situation in Egypt and the borders have been normalized to an extent now. The Mamluk sultanate, direct heir to Baibars’ state, has made some progress against the
Mongols in establishing a break-through to the coast. Baibars’ heir died, likely of
The Byzantines have continued to make great gains against the Bulgarians, and now have a marriage alliance with Hungarians. Across the Balkans, the revanchist Byzantines are spreading fear, particularly in Serbian Stari Ras. The Despotate of Epirus has submitted to vassalization.
In China, the Song have been reduced to a small southern polity, for now at least not troublesome enough to be wiped out by the Yuan. On the other hand, the Japanese were. They have become a recalcitrant vassal, paying their tribute rarely. In order to teach them a lesson they were invaded in 1283. Despite a few victories and bravery like the Mongols had never seen, Japan had basically fallen to the Yuan by the end of 1284. Nippon was engulfed in rapine, murder, and destruction to such an extent that it may never fully recover. Nestorian Christianity has begun to become more popular among the Mongolian nobility, with the missionaries sent from the Ilkhanate.
The Chagatids have continued their invasion of the Sultanate of Delhi. They have met with success, adding much territory to their khanate, albeit the weakest of the three remaining independent khanates. The Sultan of Delhi has begun an offensive against the Chagatids who were largely taken by surprise by this development. The Chagatids have increasingly become Islamic, in order to better rule their largely Muslim subjects.
May 4th, 2010, 09:36 PM
Chapter V: Times They Are A-Changin’
“Greatness is nothing unless it lasting.” - Napoleon Bonaparte
1285-1289: In China the last vestiges of the Song have been crushed. The Yuan Dynasty is one of the largest in Chinese history, and the first to conquer Japan. Unfortunately, the Yuan are unable to totally enjoy their triumphs. The Ilkhanate is beginning to appear as a challenger to its appearance as the “first” khanate. Normally one of the most submissive of the Khanates, the Ilkhans have grown increasingly militant and are trying to impose their will on both the Golden Horde and the Chagatids. To add to their woes, many of their attempts to conquer the Khmer and the Vietnamese have failed.
The Sultanate of Delhi has struck back at the Chagatids, scoring several victories and gaining back much of the territory that they lost in the invasion of the 1280’s. The Chagatai Khanate was weakened by its own civil conflicts of the past few years as a Muslim faction and a traditionalist Pagan faction fought over the Khanate of the Chagatids. Experiencing similar unrest to what the Ilkhanate did in the early 1280’s and late 1270’s, eventually the Muslim faction harnessed popular support and won the civil war.
The Muslim Rebellions have finally ended. The Ilkhan was forced to provide serious compensations to many of his Muslim subjects in order to bring peace to his realm. They are no longer subject to the harsh religion-based taxes of the past, they are given the freedom to practice their religion, and they now have complete legal rights comparable to those of Christians. The Ilkhan Arghun is leaning on his vassals in Cilicia, Antioch, and Jerusalem (the Egyptians had already been forced to adopt these reforms by their somewhat desperate situation). The Cilicians quickly acquiesced, as did the Antiochenes. These two states were submissive to the Ilkhanate because often not only did they respect its great authority, they greatly needed its influence to prevent a revanchist Jerusalem from engulfing them both. Jerusalem has refused to amend its laws regarding Muslims, increasing the tension between it and its nominal liege. Also, although its Muslim subjects had gained many new rights, Muslim nobility amongst the Mongolians were still heavily disfavored by the Ilkhanate. Most of these Muslim nobles eventually emigrated to the Chagatai Khanate, where they would receive more favorable treatment. Many of these nobles were viewed as criminals by the Ilkhanate, and Arghun Khan demanded that they be returned and executed for treason. The Chagatids refused and war (which had been escalating for years since the inconclusive end of their last conflict, the increasingly bellicose behavior of the Ilkhans who wished to assert their authority, and the opposed religions) began between the two khanates in 1288. The early stages of the war were dominated by the Ilkhanate, but eventually the Chagatids were able to divert enough armies from their Indian front the blunt their advance.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem continues its rise. It has become one of the most stable and wealthy states in the Middle-East drawing. Conrad III’s wife Mary has given him two new sons, in 1286, and 1289. He has laid claim to Egypt by rights of inheritance through his wife Mary and her first-born Godfrey grandson of Kitbuqa. Yet the Ilkhan Arghun reasonably fears the unification of Egypt with his most defiant vassal and his enabled the heirs of Khugen, supposed temporary successor of Kitbuqa first Mongol king of Egypt. This has infuriated Conrad III, but he still fears a complete break with the incredibly powerful (albeit somewhat morbid) Ilkhanate. Speaking of Egypt, large chunks of been claimed due to the deployment of three tumens (30,000 men) to conquer it. There are still significant holdouts in the western part of the country, many of the Mamluk petty lords supported by the Mongol Khan of Tripolitania, who fears a reckoning that may come of his rather open rebellion if a land link is established to him across North Africa.
Charles of Anjou made attempts to unify Sicily. The only barriers in his way were the Aragonese and the Genoans. To deal with the Genoans, he sold his nominal over lordship to the Duchy of Achaea in exchange for their portion of Sardinia. Unfortunately for him the Aragonese were much more implacable. He attacked swiftly into their possessions but was soon excommunicated by the Pope. He triumphed in Sardinia and then even moved on to besiege Rome. A crusade was called against Charles, and the decimation of his realms was saved only by his (extremely) timely death in 1289. His son Charles II realized his untenable position and immediately began making concession to the Papacy and the other Ghibbelines. He ceded Sardinia to a partition between the Genoese and Pisans (probably for the sake of spiting the Aragonese). He had to give up many of his inherited possessions in northern Italy, and in Tuscany a portion of a separate Duchy of Tuscany was established and part of the Duchy was granted to the Papacy. Charles II of Anjou was confronted with a collapsing realm, and granted the Kingdom of Tunisia to his brother Phillip. He retained the territories of Naples and Sicily, and was busy asserting his sons right to Hungary, presuming his territories to be safe after such a substantial trimming-down.
The Byzantine Empire has succeeded in re-unifying through marriage with the Despotate of Epirus. Although it maintains some autonomy domestically, by and large its affairs are run from Constantinople. Elsewhere in the Byzantine Empire, raids from the increasingly aggressive petty emirs of the disintegrating Selchuk Sultanate have become a major nuisance even coming threateningly close to Nicaea. The only remaining Latin state in the East is the Duchy of Achaea, propped up by the Genoese.
The Teutonic Order has continued to capitalize on the increase on Crusading enthusiasm by expanding further into Lithuania and even Poland.
War has erupted between the English and French in 1286. The obstinacy of the Plantagenet’s over all of their territory in France has boiled over into frustration for the revanchist French, and seeking to follow in the footsteps of his father Louis X seeks to drive the English from France. To add to this tumultuous conflict, the Scottish were invaded by Norway to assert their monarch’s claims to the throne of Scotland after an inheritance crisis and the Scots appealed to England for aid. England has embraced a two-front war, and Norway and France have entered into a more formal alliance intended to stifle the ambitions of the Angevin kings of England. Initially the war has begun poorly for the Britons, with French and Norwegian progress.
1290-1294: The forces of Louis X have reclaimed most of Gascony from the English in their war with them. The English have enlisted the burghers of Flanders in their conflict against the French as well. They have largely established dominance over the English Channel and have begun troop landings in Normandy. Rouen was under siege to the British and on the edge of falling. To the north England was increasingly establishing controls over Scotland, and soon both theaters of the war were run from Whitehall, owing to the absence of a Scottish King. This worked in the favor of the Norwegians, who played off Scottish nationalists (the term is at least mildly appropriate) to aid them in the fight against the English. The Norwegians promised them much greater autonomy then they would have had under the English. Many of the most powerful Highlander barons have risen in support of the Norwegian King.
The slow fall of the Pisan Republic has accelerated this year, when the Aragonese seized control of Corsica. They had the aid of the Genoese fleets, who were promised preferential access to Aragonese markets.
The former realm of Charles of Anjou has continued its collapse. In 1290 all of Sicily rose in open rebellion against Charles II, with the revolution sweeping across the island far faster than the French could even hope to repress. With the Senior Capetians busy with the English control of Sicily was quickly lost. It took all the efforts of Charles II to prevent the revolt from spreading to Naples, and even by 1294 it was not completely suppressed in the twin boots of Italy. The Sicilians temporarily had no form of government, but all of them fondly recalled the rule of the Hohenstaufen on their island. Thus, after a council in Palermo the crown of Sicily was offered to Conrad III, King of Jerusalem. Conrad accepted Sicily for his second-born son Baldwin. His plan is to create a Duchy of Sicily, mostly independent but also a vassal of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Until the majority of Baldwin in 1302 Conrad will hold the Duchy of Sicily as a possession of the Crown of Jerusalem. He has already been forced to distribute power somewhat liberally to the various barons of Sicily, as he has no hope of holding without the complete support of the populace.
The Marinid Caliphate continues its rise, and is growing a more and more aggressive rivalry with the Castilians. Both of their fleets have engaged in limited confrontations in the past few years. The Kingdom of Tunisia has also begun to fear the power of the Marinids, and has appealed for a new Crusade from the Church.
Poland has been united under one king for the first time in many years. King Przemysl was crowned the King of Poland in 1292. He ascended to power largely without opposition after the vast humiliation of the other major claimant Ottokar II in the civil war in the Holy Roman Empire. He has adopted an aggressive policy towards Belarussia, and has negotiated plans for an alliance with Novgorod Republic. Elsewhere in the Baltics the Teutonic Order and their Livonian subordinates have continued their vicious attacks on the Lithuanians, reducing them to a minor state. Sweden has raided into Livonia, perhaps precipitating a hostile future between the two states.
After the death of King Rudolph of Germany, his son Albert managed to succeed to the throne. In a search for allies, the Pope agreed to crown Albert as Holy Roman Emperor in exchange for some territory in the north of the peninsula. Albert ceded the territory out of the Empire because of his desperate need for legitimacy and fears that Germany would again fall into chaos after the death of his charismatic father.
The Byzantine Empire has increasingly cultivated warm relations with Serbia. Bulgaria has turned to the Golden Horde for protection against the Byzantines, and is now paying the Khan tribute.
The Ilkhan Arghun passed away in 1291, leaving the reigns of his realm to his son Ghazan. Ghazan is a reasonable and actually isn’t ambitious as a khan, his main goal is to eliminate dissent among his own high-ranking nobility. Namely, that means encouraging conversion to Christianity and encouraging adoption of at least some Middle-Eastern principles. He is a moderate who offends no one, yet is still a good ruler who is held with esteem by his contemporaries. His reign has also began a revival of good relations with the Kingdom of Jerusalem, partially due to his cultural tact and ability to speak many languages. While he refuses to recognize Conrad’s claims as King of Egypt, he also does not recognize the current Mongol ruler of Egypt as any more than a regent. Ghazan offered Jerusalem a reduction in their tribute payments if they would renounce their claims to Antioch, but Conrad refused. Ghazan also concluded peace with the Chagatids,
uti possidetis. The Egyptian offensive continued, with the final Mameluke coalition positioned in Cyrenaica, with funding coming in from (clandestinely) both Tripolitania and Jerusalem.
The Ayyubid Sultanate concluded peace with the Makurians after they nearly sacked Mecca. They now pay them a massive tribute in return for a ten year peace agreement. Also, the Ayyubids were the victim of a large invasion by the Ilkhanate, which gave the Ilkhanate a port on the Red Sea.
The Khmer Empire has grown more powerful in the face of several failed Mongol assaults. They have scored several victories against the Dai Viet and are becoming a growing threat to Yuan authority in Southeast Asia. The Yuan themselves are undergoing their own signification yet continue their prejudice against the Han for positions of authority in the khanate. Kublai Khan died, and he was succeeded by his grandson Temur. Momentously, the Ilkhanate has refused to acknowledge him as the Great Khan as the heathen king of China. He is also losing support among the Mongolians, who only acknowledge him as a partial regent of Mongolia. The Chagatids are the sole group the recognizes his ultimate authority. Seeking to shore up his support among ethnic minorities, Temur took the daughter of the Kamakura shogun as his wife.
1295-1299: The Khan of the Golden Horde died at the dawn of 1295 and a kuriltai was immediately convened. They were at an important crossroads: They could choose a traditional, likely Muslim candidate who would continue them on the slow path to insignificance (and continuing raids by the Rus’) or an altogether more momentous decision. If they chose the Ilkhan Ghazan as Khan it would unify the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate permanently, as the Ilkhanate had recently instituted royal primogeniture for purposes of inheritance. After much deliberation Ghazan was chosen as the new Khan, possibly making him the most powerful man in the world. In Egypt the Mongolians suffered a critical defeat at Benghazi, as they were on the eve of the conquest of Cyrenaica. Fearing a Mameluke attack into Egypt, the Ilkhanate concluded peace with the lone ruler of Cyrenaica, Ali. The Mameluke ruler must pay a heavy tribute in return for his freedom. In 1298 Ghazan passed away, leaving the succession up in the air. Eventually, his extremely skilled and beloved son Baghatur (in the Church, known as Joseph) grabbed the throne. The Golden Horde also accepted the greatly respected Baghatur, who as a teenager became a hero in the Chagatid wars. He succeeded to the throne at age 25. In 1299, Baghatur led a raiding expedition into the Selchuk Sultanate, toppling the final Sultan and formally making the dozens of petty beyliks his vassals. Relations between Jerusalem and The Ilkhanate have also continued their chill in relations with the Kingdom Of Jerusalem, with Baghatur appointing his own brother as Regent of Egypt, a title also claimed by Conrad III of Jerusalem.
In a naval battle this year, Conrad captured Malta from Charles II of Naples, cutting one of Charles’ closest links to his brother and nominal ally Phillip, King of Tunis. Conrad’s position in Sicily grows a little more tenuous, as the notoriously unruly barons of Sicily have begun to dislike being ruled from afar again. To assuage their concerns, Conrad has continued to grant them land and is already making laws to limit his own son’s power, when he comes to power.
The 10th crusade was launched in 1296 towards Granada, and met with success until reinforcements were brought in by the Marinid Caliphate. They scored victories against the Castilians, but they were largely immoveable from their forward positions. The result was a peace ceding much of the former Granada to Castile (largely uti poseditis). At the very end of 1299, the Granadan Sultanate was added to the growing Marinid realm, by claims of the inability of the Granadan sultan’s inability to protect his own people.
The war between the English, French, Scottish, and Norwegians has continued to rage. The English kings have made great progress in Normandy, conquering nearly all of it, while French progress in Gascony has stalled. The English have scored several victories against the French, especially when the Capetian forces had to divert a Flemish offensive headed straight towards Paris. The English have begun attempts to woo the Britons into the war, but as of yet the court of Brittany has been largely unresponsive, and is perhaps waiting for further English victories before they take action. In the north the Norwegians have continued to score victories against the Scottish, who were caught off guard when the Norwegians did not even attempt to take Edinburgh, instead going for a campaign to capture all of western Scotland and the Highlands through their excellent ports in the Irish Sea and their main hub, the Isle of Man. Many Scottish soldiers are stuck in France, and after pleas from the various lords of Scotland King Edward sent aid to Scotland. Many of those English soldiers have acted quite roguishly, even in the land they are supposed to be defending. This has only fanned the fires of anti-English sentiment in Scotland and there continues to be defections to the Norwegian cause.
In Italy the King of Naples has begun forming new alliances with many of the Ghibbeline cities of Northern Italy (and is in limited correspondence with the newly crowned Emperor Albert I). They are designing on limiting the growing secular power of the Papacy in Italy. The Pope has been somewhat taken aback by these developments, and is forming an alliance with the former Papal enemy and Hohenstaufen, Conrad III of Jerusalem.
As part of the enthusiasm surrounding the 10th crusade, many northern barons unable to travel to Spain volunteered in the Baltics, and helped the Teutonic Order launch another, possibly mortal, blow to Lithuania. They made major progress and barring extreme circumstances it seems all of Lithuania may soon fall to the Teutonic Order. Central government is nowhere to be found, and the only defense the Lithuanians now have is there will for independence as a people.
The Yuan Dynasty has increasingly become the rival, rather than the overlord, of the Ilkhanate in the campaign for supremacy across Asia. While the Mongolians have reluctantly supported the Yuan recently, they have been making overtures toward the Ilkhan, perhaps in an attempt to get further concessions and subsidies from Beijing. The Chagatids have begun leaning into the Yuan camp, but the Ilkhanate is able to offer them much more protection from the Delhi sultans.
The Khmer have successfully attacked the Champa, annexing great chunks of land in the south and making them a vassal state.
May 21st, 2010, 10:04 PM
Chapter VI: The Day That Never Comes
“Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.” – Niccoló Machiavelli
Note: Past this point, it is safe to say a sizeable amount of all divergences from our time line will not be described. If you are confused or curious about something simply ask. It is likely I either have an answer for it and have forgotten, neglected, or decided not to include it in the time-line or it is possible I have not thought about it. In that case, I shall get an answer by combing through the time-line to bring you a satisfactory answer based on what seems most plausible.
1300-1309: The war in the northwest of Europe heated up and then finally wound to a conclusion this decade, with some very surprising results on both sides. The battle of Coquelles was perhaps one of the most decisive, particularly owing to the death of Louis X in battle. After suffering continuing defeats against the English and the Flems, and with the interior of France itself in chaos as no clear ruler emerged, the majority of barons in France wanted peace. A coalition of the leading French Dukes agreed to this proposal, owing to the infancy of King Louis X of France’s oldest son. This proposal returned all of Gascony to the English, and as much of Normandy as they held at the conclusion of the treaty. In the north, an altogether surprising finish was reached with the declaration of the United Kingdom of Norway-Scotland, through the marriage of the sole surviving female descendant of the last king of Scotland. The various lords of Scotland have been promised a huge amount of autonomy, and both Bergen and Edinburgh will serve as joint capitals in this new realm. France has fallen into internal disorder, with central power disintegrating back to the stage of a century or more ago.
The Marinid Caliphate has continued to consolidate its power, and is likely the most powerful Muslim state in the world.
War has broken out in Italy again, with the Pope and his supporters fighting against the Capetian King of Naples and his allies in Tuscany. Into the fray joined the Genoese and the Venetians, on the side of the Pope and the King of Naples respectively. Pisa, swayed by the large Papal armies on their border entered the war against Naples. In the initial stages, the predictable naval battles occurred between Venice and Genoa. Most notably, the Venetians and Byzantines staged a joint invasion of the Duchy of Achaea, agreeing to a partition afterwards. The Genoans also managed to seize the remainder of Sardinia from the declining Pisans.
The Teutonic Order has embarked on another crusade, aiming to strike a blow against the Orthodox Rus’. They have invaded the Belarussian and their Novgorod allies under the guise of fighting for “Catholicism”. They have met with some success thus far, allying with Sweden. Poland has also joined in on the conflict seeking to stem the growth of the aggressive Teutonic Knights.
In the Middle-East the Ilkhan is becoming increasingly intertwined with his duties as secular (and to some extent spiritual) head of the Eastern Church. Recent defiance from the Byzantines has infuriated Baghatur, and he has dispatched a massive army to conquer the Greeks. This is a two pronged attack, somewhat by design and also by coincidence. To begin with, it is important to note that the composition of the Ilkhan’s armies, while still based around the traditional Mongol cavalryman has evolved greatly. Traditional Muslim fashioned infantry hordes, with a large contingent from the loyal subjects in the Caucasus. They often fight under regional commanders. While foreign the Ilkhanate is now generally recognized as the undisputed ruler of the immediate area, and is able to draw up soldiers from across their empire. One can even find contingents of Frankish knights, fighting under the banner of Antioch in Baghatur’s hordes. He even has a small navy for the crossing of lesser bodies of water such as the Aegean. The first, and largest force (60,000 men) is crossing through Bulgaria and has not yet quite lain siege to Constantinople. Another more diverse force is striking in Anatolia, using the power and ambition of the Beyliks to strike blows at some of the Greeks most important centers. The most quickly growing and explosive beylik is the Esrofoglu, which has fast emerged as one of the leaders of the various petty Turkish beyliks. Their rise has culminated with the climactic fall of Smyrna in 1309. Earlier in the decade, it conquered the Beylik of Ladik. Several of the other beyliks have advanced into Byzantine Anatolia as well. The Byzantine hierarchy is in a state of panic. Unfortunately for them, the Italians have been particularly distracted by their own war. The King of Jerusalem did attempt to stem, in their own way, the Ilkhan’s advance against their Byzantine allies, but with disastrous results. They laid siege to Antioch, and were on the verge of receiving a surrender from the prince, but soon an envoy arrived from the Ilkhanate promising aid. Soon, a massive army under the command of Baghatur’s brother arrived, fighting the Jerusalemite army surrounding Antioch to a draw broken by the sallying of the Antiochene garrison. The two armies are now embroiled in conflict across Palestine, with the momentous alliance of the Emir of Damascus to Jerusalem. In a more positive note for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Conrad’s son Frederick has become the official Duke of Sicily.
The Chagatids have finally begun to gain some ground against the Sultanate of Delhi, scoring several victories this decade. They have also drifted more into the camp of the Yuan Dynasty, who promises them some protection against the Ilkhanate. The Mongolians, though, have begun to drift somewhat more into the camp of the Ilkhanate, distraught by the growing Sinification of the Yuan, as opposed to what they see as the “lesser evil” of Christianity among the Ilkhans.
The Khmer Empire has invaded the Dai Viet, and subjugated them to a greater extent.
1310-1319: At the beginning of this decade (which coincidentally promises to be far more exciting than the previous one) the Japanese have begun a rebellion against their Chinese-Mongolian overlords. This has initially met with success, and they have scored several victories against the Mongolians. Unfortunately for them, by 1319 it seems that their luck has largely run out as the massive superiority of the Yuan in almost every facet of warfare is coming to bear. For now, an independent Japan seems to have its days numbered. The Khmer have also continued their meteoric rise, defeating a small regional Chinese army that sought to protect the Dai Viet.
The Chagatids have continued their advance into India, even establishing beach-heads on the south-side of the Indus River, albeit not without quite a few setbacks.
Shock rang all over the West as Constantinople fell to the forces of the Ilkhanate. Surprisingly, it was not sacked and its holy places were not dismantled. The city itself was treated with great respect, probably owing to the Christianity of its conquerors. The handling of the capture of Constantinople highlights a stark divide between the Ilkhanate of now and its ancestors. Constantinople avoided the Baghdad treatment, and there was no massive pile of skulls outside its walls and right hands were not collected by its conquerors. Asides from the execution of the reigning emperor and Patriarch (which has obviously drawn an extremely strong reaction from the Serbians, and has also undermined the support of the Serbians to an extent. The Byzantines have also been ravaged in Anatolia, with Prusa the only major port still standing on the Anatolian Coast. All minor Turkish progress in the Aegean, in one of the few bright spots for the Byzantines, has been totally reverse by the vastly superior Byzantine Navy with some limited support from the Venetians. Initially the Genoans supported the Bulgarians and the Mongolians, yet after being threatened with a crusade by a rare joint initiative from the Emperor and the Pope they immediately stopped. As opposed to the situation after the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Byzantine government has been able to maintain order in the (large) territories they still control, and are ready if the Ilkhan attempts to advance south into Greece. Serbia has allied with the Byzantines amidst support from Venice and the Pope and has invaded Bulgaria making significant progress and coming close to a capture of the capital until a critical defeat against the forces of the Ilkhanate. They are now in a general retreat, but they have managed to do severe infrastructural damage to Bulgaria. In Palestine, the alliance of Damascus and Jerusalem eventually failed, resulting in a terrible sack of Damascus and the general defeated of their forces. Forces from Egypt also invaded in the south of Jerusalem, forcing a partition of Conrad’s forces. Eventually, forces finally free from Baghatur’s Balkan conquests laid siege to Jerusalem itself through sheer numerical superiority. To avoid a sack of his capital and possibly his own death Conrad agreed to humiliating terms, relinquishing his claims to Egypt, and Antioch and naming himself as a mere “steward” of Jerusalem for Baghatur. These terms are often referred to as the Second Humiliation of the Hohenstaufen, after their removal from Germany and Sicily. Surprisingly, while Conrad was forced to pay some tribute no territory was taken from the Kingdom itself, perhaps because Baghatur was no longer willing to fund an aggressive war in what is supposed to be the confines of his own kingdom. Also in the south, the Ayyubids have Egypt have accepted the protection of the Nubian Kingdom of Makuria in return for large tribute, liberalizing their laws towards Christians and allowing proselytizing by Christian missionaries in their territories (excepting of course Mecca and Medina). Baghatur’s massive army has now been deployed north, to deal with the increasing independence and martial nature of the Russian states. The Principality of Tver has been raiding across the Ilkhanate’s possessions, and it’s leader Vladimir has denounced the Ilkhan as a heretic and heathen for propagating the superiority of his branch of Christianity, with Baghatur more and more usurping the authority of the rightful patriarch. When Baghatur’s massive army arrived, they crushed the forces of Tver in one massive battle at (the Principality of Tver’s losses included their particularly anti-Mongol and bellicose leader Vladimir and his first-born son).By 1319 the Tver had been subjugated again as a vassal of the Ilkhanate and Baghatur was making preperations for an invasion of the increasingly revanchist Novgorod Republic.
On the western side of Russia the Teutonic Knights had battled to a standstill with the Novgorod Republic. A Teutonic attempt to take Novgorod itself failed miserably, yet their efforts in Belarus have met with much more success. After the capture of parts of Pomerania by the Swedes, both the Poles and Russians were willing to conclude peace, and the Teutonic Order also was somewhat forced into a peace. This is because, owing to the present circumstances in the Balkans, war between Christians was looked upon quite poorly by both the Pope and the noble volunteers the Teutonic Order depended on to keep it vital. The peace decided upon took no territory from Novgorod, very nearly halved Belarus and gave Sweden a small piece of Pomerania.
The Marinids of North Africa invaded the Kingdom of Tunisia in 1317, scoring major successes against a Kingdom that found it difficult to defend itself against. After peace was concluded with help from the Castilians, Neapolitans, and the Tripolitanians (who fear the expansion of Marinid power across more of North Africa) Tunis has been reduced to nothing more than a collection of coastal fortress along the Mediterranean.
In Italy, the war was concluded as a victory for the Guelphs. Pisa has also been confirmed as a completely inconsequential player in Italian politics. Tuscany has been reduced to a client state of Rome and Naples (and its inherited ambitions from Charles of Anjou) has turned its look to the south, looking to support its brother dynasty in Tunis. Genoa and Venice concluded a peace with Genoa slightly more powerful than before, but this is largely due to the great losses of Venice’s allies in the Mediterranean.
Things between the English and French have begun to heat up again, as a very junior branch of the Capetian Dynasty has succeeded to power. London disputes the legitimacy of this new kingdom and perhaps will look to pounce on its growingly weak neighbor to the south. In Ireland, English rule continues to weaken. The Norwegian rule in Scotland has strengthened, yet a new law mandates that each election of a new king must be confirmed by a Diet of the leading Scottish barons leading to somewhat of an undermining of traditional primogeniture in Norway.
1320-1329: The war between the English and French has heated up again. This one began when a daughter of the deposed senior Capetian branch came to the English court, asking for aid in reclaiming her throne. She was quickly wedded to John, son of the English king. This gave the English a claim to France, and after a slight border conflict in Normandy which gave them a half-decent reason to invade France in 1323. Unfortunately for the English, they have begun the decade with some reversals, and their progress into France has either been completely stymied or even reversed slightly, particularly in Normandy. By the end of this decade the war had wound down, with the English having to deal with a rebellion in Wales and the French exhausted from this long war on their own soil. The English kings had largely forgotten about further expansion into Ireland, as while there holding in much of the island had already been eroded their settlements in the east especially surrounding Dublin remained very secure and had not been attacked for generations. This opened the door to Scottish expansion, largely sponsored by particularly powerful barons. They begin to marry into purchase land in Northern Ireland. Many lesser free-holders also immigrated there. In other news for the Norse, the settlements in Greenland have been rejuvenated by the Norwegian link through Scotland with new immigrants arriving and more support from Europe.
In the Holy Roman Empire the Habsburgs have lost the kingship in the most recent election. It has passed into the House of Luxembourg relatively peacefully, but the House of Habsburg has already begun posturing among the lesser electors for position in the next election.
The Marinids and their aggressive caliph Battuta al-Haqq have continued their campaign against the Christian Kingdom of Tunisia. Their king Charles II is now limited to a small demesne of land surrounding Tunis. The Christians have been reinforced by the Castilians and the Neapolitans. In return for their support and their invasion of Morocco, Charles II’s son has been forced to give up his claims as the King of Tunisia. King Juan of Castile’s second son Sancho married to the daughter of Charles II is now the heir apparent to the Tunisian throne.
The Serbians were completely driven out of Bulgaria this decade, and the Byzantines did not even attempt to retake Constantinople. Instead they have focused on their weaker opponents, the beyliks of Anatolia. They have consolidated the land they do still hold, especially around Bursa. The Esrofeglu beylik is the only one (including the Osmanoglu) that has been able to stand against the Byzantine military, rebuffing all attempts to retake Trebizond, even an extremely ambitious joint effort between the Byzantines and Venetians. Neglecting the relatively lesser outpost of Tunis and perhaps trying to make amends for the affronts of 1204, Pope Pius IV called for a crusade against the Ilkhanate, the Turks and the perfidious Bulgars, aimed at retaking Constantinople and propping up the Byzantines. An army has also departed from the Holy Roman Empire for this 10th crusade. Into this coalition the Serbians and Hungarian have joined the Byzantines, with hostilities restarting on their border. Most of the forces of the Ilkhan are indisposed either in the inner empire or in Russia yet conflict has already erupted in the Balkans and Central Europe.
The Kingdom of Makuria annexed more of the Ayyubid lands in Egypt this year as a commencement of a rabid series of pogroms against Muslims their ultra-pious ruler initiated. Eventually the Ayyubid ruler ransomed himself, his dynasty, and saved Medina and Mecca from being ravaged by paying a massive gold ransom to the King of Makuria. The Ayyubids are now left with the Arabian Holy Land and a sliver of territory in Egypt itself.
Elsewhere in North Africa the Emirate of Cyrenaica and The Khanate of Tripolitania went to war. Despite initial Cyrenaican victories the huge navy and wealth of the Kingdom of Jerusalem managed to drive back the Muslim forces and get a white peace for Tripoli. While not the main cause for the war, afterwards the Khan of Tripoli (Mark I) declared Conrad III the rightful King of Egypt.
The Ilkhanate finally invaded the Republic of Novgorod, with help from their allies in the Principality of Tver. They repeatedly crushed the disunited forces of Novgorod and their allies. Baghatur the Conqueror, as he is know called, annexed the vast majority of these lands (perhaps overambitiously) and left a small tributary state centered around Novgorod. Needless to say, his reign in northern Russia is a little unstable, and he was forced to leave large contingents of his army in Russia, transplanting thousands of Mongols and Persians in the process. He and his main guard have now turned southwards, for an invasion of either Mecca and Medina or Yemen. He has already dispatched one of his premier generals to Constantinople, uninterested in defending territory, for only the glory of new conquests appeals to him. Elsewhere in the Ilkhanate one of Baghatur’s similarly opportunistic brothers has invaded the Chagatai Khanate, mostly for their allegiance to the Yuan instead of the Ilkhans. This was tripartite invasion, stemming from Mongolia, Persia, and even allying with the Sultanate of Delhi. Great progress has been made, and it appears the Chagatids days may be numbered especially due to the difficulty for the Yuan allies of the Chagatids to reinforce their friends. The Chagatids are on the verge of collapse, with no strong armies except those veteran ones on their Indian border and one enclosed in a small pocket of land, yet is led by the most experienced and brilliant commander in the whole war, Ali, nephew of the Khan. In another theatre of the war, border skirmishes between the Mongolians and the Yuan have heated up.
The Khmer have incorporated Annam into their Empire and have made increasing gains in the South-East of the Yuan Empire at the expense of the less vital Yuan Empire. In the first note on the Indonesian Archipelago in this time-line, Srivijaya has been unable to expand their power into the Malay Peninsula and Singapore further owing to the Khmer support of the local chiefdoms.
1330-1339: The Yuan Dynasty invaded Mongolia to try and stem their advance into the Chagatid Khanate. They met with initial success, yet did not make major territorial gains, particularly owing to the perhaps premature end of the war due to events in the Ilkhanate. Also in China, there was a coup to oust the current Emperor, who had overly traditionalist Mongolian and Christian sentiments. He was deposed by a Sinnic (albeit ethnically Mongol) Junta, who have imposed a new emperor, a descendant of Kublai and distant cousin of the deposed ruler.
The collapse of the Ilkhanate has begun, initiating the greatest reshuffling of power in the Middle-East since the first coming of the Mongol Hordes in the 1240’s and 50’s. It began as Baghatur died in Muscat in 1332, when an elderly woman threw a floor tile at the aging rulers head as he was parading through the conquered city, killing him. Due to the new hereditary succession policies Joseph, young son of Baghatur, is succeeding to the throne. To hold together the Ilkhanate and even a sizable proportion of its crumbling and attacked empire would have required an incredibly capable and guileful emperor. Unfortunately, Joseph was neither.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.