TL: It seemed like a good idea at the time...
Note: This TL is for fun - any dissimilarities between it and OTL, I claim butterflies!
Any similarities between it and OTL are PURELY COINCIDENTAL.
Also, I'll try to mark any obvious POD or 'Speculation' with a *.
At somepoint between 6000BC and 4000BC...
Toks, short for a much longer multisyllabic name, stared at a slowly spreading vivid purple stain on the rag in his hand. He was pretty sure it hadn't been purple when he'd wrapped it to avoid getting cut winning the wager by crushing the seashell. The purple was truly vivid, he had never seen such a color. He waited until one of his friends had finished collected the wagers for him, then collared him.
"Have you ever seen anything like this??" he whispered fiercely.
"No, what is that? where did you get it?" his friend said, grabbing his hand.
With a quick whap to the back of the head, Toks wrestled his hand free, clenching it into a fist as several others looked over. "Idiot!" he hissed, glaring. "Do you know, it means I could get a dress dyed for Synxia that that no one else has you crazy fool!"
Since Syxia was considered the best looking single female, his friend promptly conceded the point. "But where did you get that color from? Was it a seaweed or-"
Toks thwapped him on the back of the head again and said "I'll tell you later, for now just SHUT UP." Since Toks was one of the largest fishermen in the village, his friend promptly shut up. By the time they docked, he'd almost completely forgotten about it.
A few days later, on a rest day, he was sitting out at the end of a dock, trying to mend a net before the sun set over the water and he lost the light, when he noticed that there were several more of those shells in the water ten feet below. Within minutes he had collected several dozen of them. Even the chill of the night as he sat, trying to dry off before he could go home, didn't dull his excitement.
Once home, he immediately brought them to his mother, "Mother, look, I found these under the dock - "
Interrupting her son, the elderly matron whacked him with a large wooden spoon and grabbed the mollusks, saying "I told you to bring home supper - a nice big fish or some lamb from down the way, but noooo, you have to bring home these! Fine, you'll eat them when I cook them!" and dumped them, shells and all, into a pan to boil them in oil.
Horrified, Toks went on with his evening chores, cursing to himself and occasionally stealing a look at the purple stain he'd saved when he'd won that wager days before. He took to carrying it, thinking he could tell her about it when he could get a word in, but then he bumped into her while carrying a load of firewood onehanded and the rag in the other. CRASH went the firewood one, she staggered another, and his hand, with the rag, started to go into the boiling oil. With a shriek, he flung himself away, inadvertantly dropping the rag into the pot, but thankfully saving his fishermens hands...
Please provide feedback on my first TL's below!
Western Rise of Empire
Discussion that led to: Western Rise of Empire
...somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean...
With his mothers curses ringing shrilly in his ears, he gingerly used the stir spoon to fish out the rag and try to save the meat - after all, it was likely all he'd get to eat. Chances were good that the purple stain had completely washed out in the boiling oil, and all his dreams fo Synxia lay at his feet, rather like his hear right now.
Yet, when he finally fished the rag out, he gaped in wonder at the brilliant purple stain that now covered it fully. Even his mother stopped speaking for a moment, looking at it in awe. She found her voice faster than he did though and promptly stammered "W-where did you get that rag?? That's beautiful!" and reached for it. Closing his mouth on what he'd been going to say, he realized that he couldn't tell even his mother. He raced out the door and up the street as quick as he could.
Synxias mother, Polixa, was a clothes maker, and the only one in the village of Gebal that could dye ceremonial white robes correctly, which is precisely what she was working on in her workroom when her door almost exploded from a frenzy of knocks. One look at what Toks was carrying, however, made her completely forget the robes, and the irritation at being disturbed in her workroom.
Within a bit, Toks had stammered out his story - with much waving of his rag - and Polixa was lost in thought and wonderment. She nodded absently at the thought of a new dress for her daughter, but then shooed the excited youth out of her workshop and set off for the home of the village sea-priest, Joxin...
By 2500 BC 'Royal Purple' becomes the favored color of the Sea Priests of the Canaanites, of which the sea farers are called 'Phoenicia' - Greek word relating to 'Purple'. The Sea Priests claim that Purple is the color of the meeting of sky and sea just before sunrise and just after sunset, brought to life and touch. As early as 3000 BC, they were trading timbers and purple fabrics to the Egyptians from the first of many colonies in the Atlantic.
At some point, they discovered, found, or were traded the metallurgy techniques for making Bronze in the Atlantic. This is roughly analogous to one country coming secretly on the only source of u235 for Nuclear weapons... all other cultures had, at best, copper.
They named the land Bara-Tannica, the land of Tin.
At some point around 2000BC, famine struck the land of the Hittites in Anatolia. Their ruler, after all other efforts failed, split the population half, and banished half, under the leadership of his son, to the waters southward. The other half, he himself led on conquests to south. The league of cities to their west, and the Greeks, were similarly affected by droughts and famines, and by prressures from tribes to the north and west, began to migrate as well.
In 2000-1200 BC a time of unrest begins as Sea Peoples begin to raid southward, the Hittite Empire is attempting to expand to find new food, waves of Greek migrations descend from the northwest, the Hyksos invaded Egypt from the south (and are driven out again later), The Minoan culture peaks and vanishes, replaced by the Mycenaean culture.
During this time, Phoenician Canaan is politically seperated from land based Canaan (which the Egyptians conquer in 1800, only to change hands multiple times) and survives virtually unscathed due to it's broad distribution of colonies and naval supremacy.
By 1200, Hundreds of colonies exist, many outside the Mediterranean covering the African and Iberian coastlines, each a days rowing from each other, adding unique lumber and silver to the glass liquid containers and purple dye that are the prime staples of Phoenician Trade. Due to distribution of colonies and it's loose trading policies, Phoenicia dominates regional Mediterranean trade and is often preferred even for local trade.
The arrogance of Phoencian traders, and their surplus of wealth, leads them to making anchors of silver and sails of royal purple. They sail one of two types of vessels, a trade ship or a war ship, and jealously guard their naval secrets of cartography and writing. Which, combining their knowledge of Bronze and the better ship timbers of the Atlantic cast, gave them a startling dominance over the Mediterranean from 2000-800 BC.
With the Sea Peoples mostly diminished in strength (primarily absorbed into existing cultures that survived the onslaught), the Phoenicians set out to restrict all naval access to their source of tin, and thus bronze.
They attempt to restrict Greek vessels to the immediate vicinity of the Aegean Sea, and they only allow passage through the straits of Gibraltar to their ships, or designated ships.
*Permission was granted by the use of religious symbols, sacrificed at the Caves of Gorsham for a Royal Purple flag. Ships flying these could sail into the Atlantic. Without the flag, Phoenician warships sank them.
Phoenician society rested upon three pillars: the king, the temple, and elder councils. Each colony became a city-state upon reaching a certain size and establishing an elder council. The city-states were banded together through bonds of religion, politics, and tradition in a loose confederacy.
Around 900 BC the Phoenicians had founded a number of colonies around the coastlines of Sicily, but had never penetrated into the interior.
Around 815 BC, Carthage was founded in an ideal location to control western Mediterranean trade.
In 750, Syracuse was founded by the Greeks, and Phoenician settlements relocated to the western side of the island.
In addition, overland land routes were established to trade tin from Iberia & Britain to central Europe, Northern Mediterranean, and Greeks, the beginning of the weakening of the monopoly over tin trade through the straits of Gibraltar.
In 600 BC, the Greek colony of Masilla was founded, providing an even more direct trade route from Celtica to Greece, and triggering the Greek-Punic wars, or, more appropriately, the Sicilian wars.
Carthage's economic successes, and its dependence on shipping to conduct most of its trade (for the empire's southern border was surrounded by desert), led to the creation of a powerful navy to discourage both pirates and rival nations. They had inherited their naval strength and experience from the Phoenicians, but had increased it because, unlike the Phoenicians, the Punics did not want to rely on a foreign nation's aid. This, coupled with its success and growing hegemony, brought Carthage into increasing conflict with the Greeks, the other major power contending for control of the central Mediterranean.
The Greeks, like the Phoenicians, were expert sailors who had set up thriving colonies throughout the Mediterranean. These two rivals fought their wars on the island of Sicily, which lay at Carthage's doorstep. From their earliest days, both the Greeks and Phoenicians had been attracted to the large island, establishing a large number of colonies and trading posts along its coasts. Small battles had been fought between these settlements for centuries. Masilla was a feather that triggered one of the longest wars of Mediterranean history.
In response to the Greek's reaching Iberia, Carthage coordinated an alliance of Phoenician Cities into a Carthaginian led commerical empire to resist further Greek influence in the Central and west Mediterranean.
In 580, Conflicts in and around Sicily, primarily led by the Phoenician settlements and friendly natives, pushed Greeks to the eastern side of the island with a resounding defeat.
Greeks continued to colonize heavily in the area, in the form of both Ionian and Dorian Greeks, and the area is often referred to as Magna Graecia by the Latins, due the density of Greeks in the region. Ionians were largely friendly to Phoenician, Carthaginian, and native alike, but Dorians were more aggressive, and expanded into the interior of Sicily, often at the expense of the natives. Trade between the Magna Graecia and the Carthaginian empire flourished, enriching both sides, and eventually led to the first Sicilian War.
In 550, Carthage allies with the Etruscans against the Greek's expanding influence.
*In 540, Malchus conquers Sicily, and takes Greek booty to Tyre, and dies to Persian conquest.
In 539, the Persians conqured the last of the Levantine coast Phoenician cities, sparking a dispersal of citizens to Carthage and other city-state colonies, making Carthage the new Capital of Mediterranean trade - from deep sub-Saharan Africa to Persia to the Brittanic Isles. Carthage, after the rebellion and fall of Tarshish, closed the Straits of Gibraltar to all foreign vessels.
In 535, Carthage, with Etruscans, destroy the Phocean Greek colony in Corsica and closes Sardinia-Corsica from further Greek colonization.
510 - Rome overthrows Etruscans, establishing independent republic
510 - Prince Dorieus of Sparta colonizes Eryx on Sicily after being expelled by Carthage after a three year struggle against him and his followers.
*510 - Carthage aids Segasta to defeat Dorieus, Greek survivors then founded Heaclea Minoa by taking over existing Minoa, from which they fought a second war in vengeance, culminating in the destruction of Minoa, but enhanced economic benefits for Greeks in Magna Graecia.
An appeal at the time to mainland Greece to avenge Dorieus was ignored, even by Dorieus' brother, Leonidas of Sparta, who would stand at the Gates of Fire in 480 BC.
507 - Carthage signs first treaty with Rome
While Carthage is engaged in western Sicily and Sardinia, most Sicilian Greek colonies fell under the rule of tyrants, who successfully expaned against native Sicilians and each other from 505-480 with the Doric city of Gela being the most successful.
498-490 - Gela, under Hippocrates, Cleander, conquers most of eastern Sicily.
485 - Gelo, successor of Hippocrates in Gela, captures Syracuse and makes it his capital.
He transforms Ionian cities into Dorian with ethnic cleansing, deportation and enslavement, making Syracuse the dominant power in the meantime.
He then allies with Akragas via mariages, creating a united front against the Sicels and Ionian Greeks of Sicily (those that were left), incidentally creating a viable threat to all other Sicilian powers.
483 - Ionian Greeks appealed to Carthage to counter this Doric threat and several Ionian cities, and even a Dorian city, ally with Carthage.
Ionians to the north, Carthage to the west, and Dorians the east and south, with natives sandwiched in the middle, mostly nuetral (though some joined the Carthaginian alliance) created a delicate balance of power.
*480 An alliance with Persia sees a major Persian offensive against mainland Greece and 300,000 strong Carthage military mission to Sicily. After a losing a majority of the force to bad weather getting there, Hamilcar of Carthage is decisively defeated by Gelo.
Carthage paid 2000 talents as reparations to the Greeks and did not intervene in Sicily for 70 years.
Carthage lost no Sicilian territory, and the Greeks gained none. Gelo/Syracuse did not attack any Carthaginian allies, and the booty from the victory over the Carthaginian army helped fund public building in Sicily, causing Greek culture to flourish. Trading activity saw Greek prosperity, and the deaths of the tyrants sowed the seeds for a second Sicilian war.
**The defeat causes a loss of faith in Carthaginian nobility however, and instigated a political crises.
The Carthaginian empire endured a bloodless civil war and revolution transforming from a Kingdom to a Republic with two ruling bodies - the Court of 104 Magistrates and the Elder Council of one member from each member city-state. The court provided detailed laws and resolutions to the council, the council would then enact them into law, or send them back for revisioning.
The bloodlessness was due to a perceptive King who had seen it coming. He had cunningly diverted a significant portion of the fleet headed to Sicily under the guise of 'bad weather' to return to Carthage and prevent the revolution. When this counter-coup fleet encountered truly bad weather, the King changed his plans to his back up plan.
The King, of the Mago dynasty, voluntarily abdicated his throne in favor of the councils and entered exile - but was so well respected that a large number of wealthy merchant families and a significant fraction of the navy - especially many of those 'significantly loyal' that had been 'lost' during the bad weather on the way to Sicily.
East lay the Persians, to the north lay the Greeks, and to the south a dry, dry desert. King Mago went the only way that was clear and open, and still by Cartaginian Empire forces. He went west, throught the Straits of Gibraltar. More than a few merchant families followed him - fifty to a hundred merchant ships. Of the naval fleet that wished to follow him, he only allowed an 'escort' of one hundred ships - but another fifty, with around an additional twenty merchant ships, sailed after his 'exile fleet'
Next chapter: Does King Mago go North or South in the Atlantic?
Please provide feedback on my first TL's below!
Western Rise of Empire
Discussion that led to: Western Rise of Empire
In 475BC, guided by an elderly Himilco, King Mago landed in southern Britain and founded a new town to be called Elissa, in memory of Queen Elissa who had founded Carthage (*Founded on the site of modern day Plymouth).
The Dumnonii, the local Celts, had been mining and smelting tin in the area for trade to Phoenician traders, especially down to the Iberian coast and the large trading town of Gadiz. At first hostile to the immense fleet of King Mago's, they quickly made peace with Mago due to his political cunning. He offered them no change in their lifestyle, and claimed that his 'Elissans' would be primarily sea merchants who would trade their silver and tin to wider and farther markets for them.
Additional colonies were founded at Uisge Domnu, a native town (*Modern day Exeter) and further up the southern coast of Britain. Trade routes were established all across the NW coast of Europe trading tin and silver from Britain and Gadiz to all the Gaulish lands.
In 468BC, when the Belgae allied with the Durotriges to raid the Elissans storehouses of trade goods, King Mago soundly repulsed them, then led a a good sized force into their territory on a retaliatory strike. However, during the long march inland, the King had a change of heart and ended up admiring the metalwork and horsemanship of the tribes. He left with a trading treaty instead of murders, and a gift of some twenty horses instead of looting and pillaging. His marines*1, upset at the loss of loot that was, to them, the reason to go fight began to lose faith in their King. More than half dispersed amongst the native tribes over the following years, to be slowly replaced by natives who found a love of the sea and a home in the marines. King Magos somewhat countered this drain by commissioning exploration expeditions to the northeast, reaching as far up as Scandia, but finding harsher conditions and more savage barbarians. He also sent explorations to the west, circling modern day Ireland and establish some trade routes there. He had hoped to settle some of his troublemakers out of reach, but his plans didn't completely counter the loss of faith in him that his marines had experienced.
Sometime during or just after his return from the raid turned trading run, King Mago married a native woman of the Eceni who brought with her more horses, and who bore him three sons in two years, then died giving birth to triplets the following year of 465 BC.
In 465, writing having been introduced ten years earlier, the oldest records of the Kingdom of Elissa detail the terms of the treaties with the Belgae and Durotriges. Writing swiftly spread to the native tribes as demand and supply began to drive diverse trade efforts across the island and the channel.
King Mago raised his sons - all six of them - to be warriors in the local traditions and merchants in the best of Carthaginian tradition. However, the eldest fell too much in love with Celtic horseback warfare and chafed under his fathers rule. He found many sympathetic ears amongst the displaced marines, who disagreed with many things King Mago was trying to accomplish - such as encouraging widespread literacy by granting tax and tribute reductions to those who could read, calculate, and write.
In 444BC, Elissa underwent a revolution, led by King Mago's son, in the capital of Elissa to establish a republic similar to that of the Carthage they had fled. King Mago, ever the cunning politician, foresaw the coup and managed to finesse it so that he and his youngest sons were exiled to an island, but were allowed to live out their lives their. His eldest son, Ligis, was elected to the leadership of the Republic, which was to consist of cities and their representatives in council to advise and guide their elected official, Ligis, as he pursued their directives.
In 439BC, King Mago was thrown by a horse and died of the complications, his sons would carry on the horse breeding traditions on their Island of Exile. These horses would become the best known breeds of all Britain within the next two generations.
In 430BC, faced with a constantly enlarging standing navy and heavy economic burdens, King Ligis was forced by his council to begin reducing his military by discharging soldiers. Many of the discharged found homes amongst the native tribes while others turned to trading and merchant endeavors across Ireland. In 430BC, the Elissan Republic had numbered some ten cities and numerous villages across southern Britain. By 420BC, they numbered some 30-50 new colonies of around 2000 people apiece across southern Ireland, south eastern Britain, and the mainland (around OTL Northern France)
In 420BC, King Ligis was killed, ironically in a fall from a horse just like his father, at the age of 48. He was succeeded by his son, Tibli, who was viewed as being more mellow than his father and who ruled as a supremely afair king, even going so far as to refuse to enforce some mandates of the council that would have removed some basic rights of the native Celts within their cities. This caused some considerable political strife, but since the military, under his command, sided firmly with him the council elected to reject the mandates rather than force the issue.
To secure the sucession, King Tibli immediately married - choosing an Eceni rumored to have royal blood amongst the tribes - and set about begetting a son.
By this time the cultures of Elissa and her sister cities were integrating more and more tightly with the natives of both Thule (Ireland) and Britain, and the trade routes were dispersing that culture broadly. Metal mining/working, horse breeding, and wool raising became the most honored professions amongst the Elissans. During Tibli's time, expeditions were sent south to Atlantic African colonies his grandfather and father had spoken of. News from Gadiz revealed that they were still trading with Gadiz, and Tibli believed that Gadiz could be safely bypassed by utilizing some changes in ship design - such as two masts with sails, a radical departure from their traditional ships brought on by some new ideas from the native tribes of Britain.
In 405 BC, King Tiblis' wife had twins - a daughter and a son. King Tiblis declared a festival in honor of the gods that had granted him a son. HIs daughter was to be named Dumna after the god of the Dumnonii tribe, and his son was to be named Durota after the tribe of the Durotriges. King Tiblis sought to honor the two tribes that had welcomed his people to their shores and to foster favor with them. Both tribes were honored, sparking some extremely moving speeches in the Council.
In 400 BC, the technique of working Iron was passed from the mainland to the Elissans. The bronze and tin metal working artists of Elissa embraced the new techniques with a passion bordering on the fanatical. Despite their higher cost, iron and steel weapons began to replace bronze weaponry in the standing army. This was a move by King Tibli to stem the tide of revolution within the council as the council of Elissa was still smarting from the rejection of their mandates by the king, and had begun a series of resolutions and mandates to curb the power of the King.
In 390 BC - While it is unknown how well they might have been able to curb the kings power - he was re-arming the navy in response and apparently planning a coup that might well have deposed the entire council and seized full power, the point became moot when King Tibli died suddenly, of alleged food poisoning though it is debated that perhaps a proactive action of the council ended his rule. His son, Durota, was ruled unfit to be a king due to age (he was only 15 at this time) and the council stepped in as a regency.
In 387 BC, The Council of Elissa ruled that there would be no King of Elissa. The Council, expanded with many more members, would undertake to run the Republic. An immediate outcry came from native tribesmen and naval officers. The very afternoon of the decree, Tiblis' son, with his Eceni mother, rallied a small contingent of the Elissan navy in the Capital and almost twice their number of tribesmen and stormed the council chambers. Of the nearly 400 representatives in council, only 3 survived the ensuing slaughter, one of which was Dobuni chieftains daughter by the name of Elwina who had been attending the council for only a week or two before the coup. Entranced by her flaming red hair, Durota spared her his sword and married her within the week. He immediately, with the guidance of his mother (an Eceni) negotiated alliances with both the Dubonii and the Eceni.
In 386 BC, Elwin had given him twin daughters, a son in 385BC, and twin sons in 384 BC, a daughter in 382, twin daughters in 370 and triplets, two daughters and a son in 366.
In 385BC, Durota built a new palace at Dover and moved there to keep a direct eye on trade with the mainland. He also negotiated a peace to abort a war by an alliance of northern tribes by sending his oldest daughter, Breaca, north to the Brigantes in an alliance marriage, and his oldest twin sons to the Votadini to secure them in an alliance. To further cement the marriages, he offered as dowries not only regional independence (ie no tribute, no taxes, only support in time of war) but also a percantage of the royal treasury until his own death.
In 355, Durota's son Thota marries a woman from Gaul by the name of Tayla.
In 354, Tayla gives birth to Lera, Thota's only child. She bears no other children as she almost died from giving birth and Thota forbids her from trying again. Lera is raised as a warrior, moving each summer from one tribe to another within the Elissan kingdom. She becomes a well known figure to all the tribes with her long, flaming red hair that was never to be cut, and her distinctive size as one of the tallest woman of the land.
In 350 BC, King Durota dies from natural causes at an astonishing 58 years of age. He had managed to unify the majority of England under his crown, at least as far north as the Brigantes, and established the import of European and African exotic goods. His daughters and sons are married into various tribes across the breadth of the land, leaving a legacy that would echo through history.
Thota ascends to the crown in a spectacular festival in which all of kinsmen and kinswomen bring their respective tribes to Dover to witness and acclaim his as their brother. His daughter, only four years old at this time, is named as his heir.
Thota's reign is virtually non-eventful. His focus was upon building roads throughout the interior of Britain, to ease the transport of luxury goods from Dover throughout the island. During this time, religious differences amongst the tribes begins to heat up, but his siblings, well steeped within their various tribes, manage to guide the tribes into a more universal religious tolerance.
The only violent events during Thota's reign comes in two forms - one, sea pirates on the western coast begin preying upon regional merchant men and two, Irish*2 raiders begin pillaging towns in western Britain, even to the point of threatening Elissa itself.
Thota's response was carefully measured - he merely gave orders to the naval fleet that any non-Elissan ships within sight of British shores were to be sunk until further notice.
This not only stopped the piratical sea raids and city pillagers, it also had the net effect of increasing Elissan trade from Dover to the mainland as Elissan ships had virtually no competition shortly thereafter.
In 333, Thota dies at age 52 when a storm sweeps him off the deck of his royal flagship in the channel waters.
His daughter, Lera, at age 21, ascends to the throne. Most of the tribes she has lived with swear immediate allegiance in the same form that her father had had. Lera causes initial unrest amongst the cities of Elissa as she is the first Queen of Elissa, but the concerns are quickly silenced in the wake of the tribesmens allegiance and the naval military acclamation of her ascension.
Fascinated by horses, Lera establishes a cultural fashion of equestrianism. Her first royal act is to declare her distant kinsmen on the Island of Exile (Isle of Wight in OTL) as the royal stable and keepers of the royal bloodline of horses.
By 320, the navy has languished in the lack of funds allocated by Lera, but the roads her father started are finished, and 'Horse Fairs' occur annually and regionally across the countryside. She also establishes schools across the countryside with the proceeds from the local horse fairs, for the purposes of educating children in horseback riding, writing and calculations. She further establishes an Academy at Dover for the teaching of higher education, but the cost prohibits most tribsemen from attending.
She adopts the usage of steel within the navy, but consistently reduced the funding until the navy is but a skeleton of what it was in her grandfathers time.
In 318, at the age of 36, her favorite stallion, overly spirited, shies at a roll of thunder, falls, and rolls over on her and kills her. She dies without any heirs, and the entire kingdom is in shock. Irish Tribes to the west immediately begin eyeing the weakened fleet, and the Gaulish mainland tribes look across the channel with avarice, thinking of all the rich trade that has come from Elissa.
In the next chapter... Does the kingdom survive? Who will claim the throne? Will there be civil war amongst her cousins? What will the news of Carthages Sicilian wars and the Greek capture of Massila mean to the lifeblood of the kingdom, the trade routes?
*1: Marines, term loosely used here. These were the crews of the standing fleet of warships who routinely trained and drilled in warfare in the best of Carthaginian traditions.
*2: Irish referring to what might have been called Hibernians. Throught I've kept the modern naming for Britain and Ireland to reduce confusions.
Please provide feedback on my first TL's below!
Western Rise of Empire
Discussion that led to: Western Rise of Empire