Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by dontfearme22, Oct 23, 2017.
Thanks for telling us beforehand
Thanks for notifying. Hope your RL matters work out from here.
It always bothered the hell outta me when threads would just vanish for months, years at a time without any word so I make sure to keep people updated when something does come up. Its nothing terrible, just IRL work that unfortunately takes higher priority than a few thousand words about how dickish Aragon is.
Is this TL coming back sometime?
I don't think so, the last time the author posted anything on the forums was back in September. Sad to say, but it's most likely dead.
This was such a great TL
This TL was legendary, its helped me in my history module this term about mesoamerican religion. Also just made a solid history that was easily digestible and conceivable with what we know about this time period.
Really Hope it gets re started but if not RIP to a real one.
I don't think I could ever stop being embarrassed by my Walls of Text on this TL. RIP to an amazing adventure.
what is dead may never die.
I think about restarting this timeline a lot. Certainly I have lots of ideas planned out. Heres the deal, Ill put out a new post before the end of summer. My RL career has been taking off so I am as busy as ever, but just as much as I hated when great timelines would crumble into nothingness, i'm sure the fans here do too. I only wish I could have sent a encouraging message earlier.
Oh, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions please i'm open to them.
Hooray! I recently stumbled upon this TL and read it and was a bit sad when I realized it was probably dead. So I thrilled that it may be returning! Glad to hear your professional life is going well. Thanks for continuing the TL!
I agree with Marse, I missed this TL a lot when it went into hiatus.
But seriously glad to know you will continue this tl. And i have so many question and ideas. Looking back, Valois realm is not the most stable union. if there is a split between Castillian and French crown will the colonies also break along a clean line? Or it will be a messy affair with claim overlap here and there.
Although there is rivalry between Andalusi and Ottoman, they also serve as peer to each other. In other word ideas and innovation will transmit more easily between them and in turn to the wider muslim world.
I also wonder what happen to West Africa and Middle east in term of population with the adoption and spread of new world crops. Since muslim world is the first to adopt it.
YOU ARE STILL HERE!!
And as someone who has his own career in the way of TL-writing, I hope you well in your endeavors!
Best news I heard today!
G o d
IT IS F*CKING ALIVE!
Hurray!!! It's alive! Glad to know you're back!
I'm sure everyone here have plenty of ideas or suggestions to offer at the moment. In that case, I have one in mind.
It is possible to see alternate version of United States of America in this TL with strong Islamic North African/Middle-Eastern cosmetics. In other words, it'll be the alternate-version of United States, rather than the Protestant Anglophone nation we're being familiar with. Hard to imagine which one particular culture but I do imagined it to be Moorish as a dominant culture. Perhaps 'United Emirates of America' or 'United Sultanates of America'? (Last part is more of joke than anything but you're welcome to use it if you wish)
On other note, this TL sometimes reminds me of one Alternate History novel I've come across called 'Lion's Blood', the settings is where Islamic Africa is the dominant world power while Europe is considered tribal and backward.
Harry Turtledove recently wrote a book with a similar idea. The world is dominated by the Middle East and North Africa while Europe is a backwater. Islam is the dominant religion while Christianity is seen as a violent religion confined in barbarous Europe. It involves agents from the "Sultanate of the Maghreb" which in this world is a very liberal nation hunting down Christian terrorists in Italy. It's an interesting story. It's called Through Darkest Europe in case you want to check it out.
1600 – 1676
“Clothes maketh the man”
John Inwood, English playwright
“Gold cannot beautify an ugly soul”
Maryam Bint Dawani, Andalusi poet.
The western mind was preoccupied with the ‘Moorish fashion’ in the 17th century. Artists painted grand scenes of Andalusi processions in gaudy wild dress. Fantastical colors swirled across the page through mad frenzies of pink caps, green robes and brilliant blue and red banners. Some have argued that one catalyst for the Paunaccio movement in western art, characterized by its bright colors and dynamic compositions, was western painters being captivated by the garishness of Islamic dress at the time. All of this has come together to give a popular impression of Andalusi fashion as uninhibited, exotic, lavish. As is the case with popular impressions, there is much more to the story.
All Andalusi culture owes its roots to Iberia, and farther back North Africa. Iberia is on the border of the Christian, and Muslim worlds. Seville is much closer to Paris, than it is to Mecca. This has impacted Andalusi culture in many ways. By the 17th century Andalusis had thoroughly syncretized with local Iberian culture and made it their own. Al-Andalus was unique among muslim nations in being so deeply tied to Europe. Far beyond the wartorn Balkans, the Arabs of Iberia had forged a truly European, but Islamic, identity.
Iberia suffered greatly due to multiple wars and natural disasters in the 17th century. This depopulated large swathes of the countryside, especially in the south. There was also economic restructuring, land seizures, and a severe famine in the late 1620s. This devastated the peasantry, many of whom emigrated to urban areas or even abroad to the colonies. This devastation did not shake the economy apart as many feared. The Andalusian bureaucracy was resilient for its scale and so the upper crust of Iberian society endured remarkably unscathed. As is often the case, while the elites continued to live in luxury the poor felt the brunt of the crisis.
The 15th - 17th centuries CE are the first time one could see the first stirrings of a global economy. Beyond even the muslim world, European ships were sailing to the far corners of Asia, Africa, and the New World. Along with this birth of an international world of trade was a new nternational world of fashion, but it was not open for all. There was a clear line between the dress of the common folk and the elite. Access to trade goods was restricted to those with class and status. While the rich, and the growing middle class, were developing new styles of clothing the dress of the majority of the population did not change significantly. Yet it was in this great number of peasants, craftsmen, housemaids and servants, that the true root of Iberian culture was. Where it was closest to the land, where the dress most closely reflects the demands of life. It is vital that we start our discussion of fashion proper with them.
All Andalusi men wore the plain cotton undertunic called the saya, an adoption of the christian tunic called sayo. This was made loose and belted around the waist with a round collar. Sometimes a more intimate layer of short cotton shorts would be worn as undergarments, but it was common to not wear this at all. The saya was cut at the knees for peasants, or at the ankle for other classes. It had billowing sleeves in the christian fashion, though in the conservative south tightly cut sleeves were used, recalling the jubba tunic popular several centuries prior.
The saya was worn over a pair of loose pants of the same material called bajama. These were worn during the day rolled up to the ankles and let loose in the evenings. The word bajama is actually not arabic, but punjabi in origin (and perhaps even further back persian). They gained popularity from Indian traders in the 15th century over the native sarwal trousers. By the 17th century sarwal refers to longer cuffed trousers like those worn by women. The bajama was not cuffed. Peasants wore sturdy wood and leather sandals, sometimes also reed. Leather boots were used in cold weather, but were not very tall. Tall boots were exclusively soldiers dress, and sumptuary laws forbade civilians from wearing them. Turbans had long since fallen out of common style in Iberia, at most a sash tied around a cap. Only clerics wore turbans. Men wore tight caps called ghifara, also called alada, or kufi. These could be either cylindrical or as skull-caps. Those who worked out in the fields wore wide-brimmed straw hats in the Christian fashion called shato, from the Spanish word for ‘plate’ (compare Portuguese chato, ‘flat’). In winter men wore wool caps.
Peasant women wore the ubiquitious head coverings of muslim women, but they were markedly less restrictive than even among the Berbers of North Africa. Women wore the khimar , a cloth that wrapped around the temple to cover most of the head but expose the face. They then could wear the azzar, a second, larger, cloth that covered the entire head to drape down to the shoulders and cover the chest. It could be tied to encircle the face, cover it, or not worn at all. Andalusi clerics frequently complained about women going about unveiled. There are equally frequent mentions in contemporary literature to phases of religious revivalism where women's headgear became more restrictive. Womens clothing was much more diverse region to region, even town to town, for this reason. It seems that local clerics had great influence on the degree of liberalization in an area. One author states that, in the region of Alcala (al-kala) in central Iberia:
“We halted at the town of kunka. It is at the foot of a great castle of the Romans, upon which the locals have built their mosque, and walk up to it each day for their prayers. When we had camped outside the town, the local woman passed by and how amazed I was to see they were bare-headed but for scarves over their temples! Their hair fell outwards over their shoulders, and their faces were all uncovered. I mentioned this to the mayor of the town, who said that it is the custom here, and that they are in all respects good muslims. It is the worst of habits (may God preserve us from such things)...
He goes on to describe the town of al-jabala near it, where the women were “fully covered [..] in all but the eyes.” He ascribes this difference to the backwardness of rural villages, but it is was more likely due to a deep-seated concept of rural autonomy that existed in Iberia since classical times. Jabala and Kunka were only 30 miles apart from each other. The villages of Iberia were fiercely proud of their own local traditions. Even before the Aragonese invasions, which greatly increased the level of isolation between the major walled towns (as smaller villages were depopulated between then), texts like this indicate that there was a great deal of cultural diversity between them. The author makes no mention of male dress, which along with other evidence indicates male dress did not change as much. This makes sense, given how much more weight there was on proper female dress vs. male in islamic thought at the time. In Andalusia between 1640 - 1680, there were five times as many references in legal writings to improper female clothing than male.
Below the azzar women wore the abaya, a loose robe much like the saya, and then the faltita, a long skirt of christian origin. They also wore trousers as mentioned above (sarwal). Skirt length varied according to class and region, as did the designs on it. Women wore sandals like men or slippers called babush, a holdover from Berber dress.
Both genders used cloaks called kaba during harsh weather. These were normally dyed yellow or red. In lieu of jewelry peasants decorated their clothing with elaborate embroidery. Quranic inscriptions and vegetation were popular themes. Embroidery became a highly developed folk art in Iberia by this time. Even though peasants were excluded from the vast wealth passing through Iberias markets they still could acquire at times dyes and fabrics that would have been valuable even to kings but a few centuries ago. Cotton overwhelmingly was the fabric of choice in Iberia after the 15th century, and even more so after the establishment of cotton plantations in North Africa.
Before the 17th, and arguably even before the 1500s, the greatest difference between class fashion was in quality of materials, dyes, and designs. Form changed little from the early Ayshunid years. This changed with the growth of another Islamic empire to the east: The Ottomans. In 17th century Andalusia, there was an inexorably growing cultural influence from the Ottoman Turks. As the Ottoman empire expanded, it began to wax a larger and larger cultural influence over Iberia, which once had been more under the sway of Egypt and even Persia. As the middle class grew, at the expense of the peasantry, it looked towards elite dress and foreign dress for cues on fashion rather than peasant dress.
After the Ottoman conquest of the Maghreb, Ottoman ports in Algeria were but a few days sail away from Iberia. Peace treaties between the two nations brought everything from artillery experts from Istanbul to coach the Andalusi gun corps to philosophers, musicians, and every sort of merchant. Turkish fashion captivated the mercantile populations of the coastal cities. This was as inevitable as a cultural trend can be. The circus of political instability in the early 1600s left many feeling like Andalusia was blemished on the world stage. There was a deep sense of distrust between the Andalusians, their Rishi subjects and North Africans were viewed as pitiably rustic.
European dress met mixed reception. Some embraced it as a sign of the times. Even this early, the explosion of European colonial activity heralded for some the waning days of muslim hegemony in the region. Others wished to find some suitably islamic neighbor to take cultural cues from. The Ottomans appeared at the exact right moment to captivate the popular imagination. While noble and middle class fashion in the early 1600s still follows Andalusi norms, as the century goes on and relations with the Ottomans become more amicable turkish fashion becomes more and more prominent.
Typical middle class dress throughout the century would have been the ubiquitous cotton tunic, belt and trousers. Earlier in the century a man might wear typically Iberian bajama trousers, and then later perhaps a turkish-style şalvar with characteristic high socks worn over the trousers at the ankle. At a glance both pants look identical, but the bajama is less baggy. Turkish style shoes, and a large sash, also betray Ottoman tastes. A man of gaudier tastes might wear a large-jacketed coat with buttons called a malluta that was traditionally only closed with one button at the front so it flared open at the chest and hips to display the undertunic. Bright dyes and jewelry displayed ones wealth. Andalusian cities were flush with color in the 17th century. If the Paunaccio ideal has Iberian roots, it is here. Even during and after the wars that saw Toledo torched, or Madrid so thoroughly ruined it was abandoned, in those cities untouched by war fashion shows no signs of moderation. The destruction of these cities did wipe out what was left of mozarabic culture however, which does not appear as a distinct entity in Iberia again after the Aragonese invasion.
One Ottoman style that never gained popularity in Iberia was the characteristic large Ottoman turbans. Andalusis favored modest headgear, and the image of ,for Iberian tastes, extravagant turbans, never failed to conjure ridicule in even the most turkophile circles. One Andalusian joked that, “One sees the turks turban before one sees the turk.”
Middle and upper-class women were no less liberal than their country cousins. They wore bright colors, with makeup and jewelry. For those who could afford it, thin silk cloaks called qamis accentuated their appearance. Some felt this was excessive, and during periods of religious revivalism city women had their fashion curtailed sharply. More conservative minded women wore the full-body robes called ha’ik which only exposed the upper part of the face. Skirts were worn like peasant women, but were longer and finer.
For the highest ranks of Andalusi society there was still a strong sense of heraldic, warrior culture. Noblemen wore fine tunics with long coats that went down to the knees, a civilian adoption of how a cavalryman wore his coat. They displayed their wealth through clothing made from exotic materials. The famed cavalry commander Abdul Haadi al-Sar had monkey-skin gloves from Mishica. His saddle was even lined with ivory bought in central Africa. Here also Ottoman fashion was popular. Noble women were paraded as accessories of their husbands and fathers. They wore all manner of finery, with strong perfume. They were kept veiled in public, but those veils were often silk and barely opaque, glittered on the edges. A uniquely Iberian trend was to lay a silk scarf (mandil) over the temple so it dangled in front of the eyes and went down the back of the neck.
Turkophilia was conquering the bustling cities of the 17th century Iberia. Even smoking, which had never become popular in Iberia became a popular pastime after turkish-style hookah bars (Argilah) were introduced in coastal cities. Tobacco was a major crop in the Andalusi economy, but while it was wildly popular in the Rish, Europe and the Middle East, it had never caught on in North Africa or Iberia proper. By the 1660s, one would have found turkish salons in every large Iberian city. Turkish tastes never completely overtook local fashion however. Traditional noble fashion survived in the rural villa, the ancient refuge of the Iberian elite.
Nobles relished the chance to retire to their country estates. Here they wore wide-brimmed hats in peasant style made out fine stiffened leather rather than reed (talmif). The famous painting of Andalusi aristocrats at a corral by the Dutch painter Breukers captures the essential characteristics of elite country fashion. A few Arabs stand outside the corral, wearing red leather buckled boots over wide bajamas. They have metal belts with riding equipment, and billowing cotton tunics. One man has a brown cloak casually worn over one shoulder. They have gloves, and all wear wide red hats with cords tied at the chin. The men wear short beards with no mustaches as was the style throughout the period. In the corral a rider performs a dramatic trick on a black pony. One arm is thrown outwards, where the midday light barely hits the delicate embroidery on his sleeve. In the distance by a row of cypress trees women watch wrapped up in red cloaks. In many ways this scene represents the apex of Andalusian fashion. It was european, arab, and international while still retaining a strong rooting in an ancient heritage.
Even as Iberia suffered more in the 17th century than in the centuries of relative peace before, Andalusian culture showed no signs of collapse. Its extravagance captured the worlds imagination. Yet, there were warning signs. Just as Andalusi styles were giving way to foreign ones, Andalusi hegemony was giving way to English, Dutch, Valoisian, Ottoman ships. Wars, famine, and disastrous economic policy were taking their toll on Iberia. The endless supply of colonial wealth that fed the insatiable Iberian appetite for excess was being strained by mismanagement. The Arab monopoly on Atlantic trade was under attack by European nations who chased new markets in the New World, Africa, and East Asia. The end of the Ayshunids and the rise of the Wazirate of Seville was viewed by many as a return to form, but perhaps this was just wishful thinking.
A post in response to a old question by haider najib:
One year to the day after my last update. Oh, all updates from now forward will be threadmarked. I will go back at some point and threadmark all the old ones too.
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