And All Nations Shall Gather To It - A Crusades TL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Rdffigueira, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. von Adler Generallöjtnant

    Jun 21, 2005
    Stockholm, Sweden
    When it comes to the Mongol feigned retreat, the Seljuks and Arabs used someting similar to that against the Crusaders OTL - go in with horse archers or javelin cavalry and attack the Crusader heavy cavaly until it was baited into charging after the retreating missile cavalry and isolated from its infantry and missile support where it could be attacked from all sides by the infantry, heavy cavalry AND missile cavalry of the Seljuks or Arabs. Once the Crusader cavalry had been defeated in detail, a grim fate awaited the Crusader infantry and missile troops.

    The Crusaders developed a unique marching formation to deal with this - the castle formation. The infantry would march in a square (akin to the Napoleonic infantry formation) with "towers" of missile troops at the corners and the cavalry protected in the middle of the open room of the infantry square. Seljuk or Arab horse archers or javeline cavalry trying to goad the Crusader cavalry would find a massive line of infantry supported by missile troops which often had longer range than the horse missile troops and that could flank them if they tried to attack the infantry line or the cavalry behind them.

    While the Mongols have better bows and better command and control of their forces, they would probably find it hard to deal with this formation that refuses to let its cavalry out until it is certain that the enemy cavalry is charging and not feigning a retreat.
  2. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Baiona , Ipar Euskal Herria (Bayonne, FR)
    I should have precised further political motivations for either one.
    As the Euphrates route is feasible as soon as Edessa is secured, it's also the route that will be available very soon. And this is a problem, for the Basileus, as it draws the crusaders away from Armenian highlands which don't need to be secured for this route to be used.
    Other advantages for this route to precise, any crusader army here would have its back against the desert, so doesn't have to worry about being surrounded; at any danger, provided riverine support is adapted and rearguard action is firm enough, the army can just cross the river to reach safety.
    The Tigris route on the other hand plays more into the Byzantines' hands. If the basileus can convinces the Franks to go that way, at least he has a valid pretext to entice them into conquering Armenian highlands first.

    My bad if I misunderstood your original intent on Aquitaine, but it's good we set it clear now.
    And it goes without proverbially saying it that I do concede ^^.

    As for the centralization, I'd say you can make it way slower than less successfull.
    The Polish-Lithuanian example is not very relevant here, and for quite big reasons.
    As I said, the Kingdom of Franks (effectively, OTL, Philip II went from Rex Francorum to Rex Franciae) was not really anything near the elective monarchy that the Commonwealth was, and there were no such thing as liberum veto or sejm. Political decisioning, even embroiled amidst feudal conflicts, was much more effective and decisive.
    Then, as the dynasty had an exceptional longevity and stability, compared to feudal lords and other European dynasties (only the Capetian to Valois and the Valois to Bourbon breaks to account for in over 8 centuries), it stood to expand at each passing generation, by marriage and acquisitions at the very least, reversion of appanages (the appanages were granted on the condition of being returned to the Crown in case of extinction of the direct male line) and ultimately, lands forfeited by felonous vassals and ones conquered. For sure, IOTL, the Capetians had great success at expanding through seizing forfeit lands from their English vassals.

    So, ITTL, unless you get rid of the Capetian dynasty alltogether, you are only getting to slow down the centralization trend.
    To mention, avoiding a conflict in the likes of the Hundred Years War and you will for sure delay that trend for a long time. The continued wars and the financial strain they put on France did much to transform the fiscal and military structures of France, decisively driving the center of power to the King's persona as we would see from Louis XI, the Spider King, onwards. Before that, the monarchy had been very reliant on great nobility, the Burgundians, the Armagnac, the Orléans, the dukes of Britanny, ...

    To return on the subject of the Albigensian crusades that has been mentionned above while speaking of the Montforts, I'd say you're right to assume they are butterflied, but not for the reasons you said and believe I think.
    IOTL, after the reign of Phillip II, the Angevin threat had been neutered as a result of John I's disastrous rule and Henry III's minority. ITTL, it's implied the status quo remains. England remains solidly anchored in Normandy and Aquitaine is still a powerful vassal. That means that, ITTL, the French King needs Toulouse as a firm ally against Aquitaine and therefore will probably shield it from any papal action, which means the Counts of Toulouse can do whatever they want about the Cathars, ie no Albigensian crusade to happen.
    In turn, I'm a little excited by what this means in terms of cultural developments in the South.
    Not only the Cathars can continue to practice and thrive in the lands of Occitan, but the overall cultural and religious tolerance practiced by Languedoc lords will stay. I mean that the imposition of royal authority IOTL meant the tolerance enjoyed by the Cathars and the Jews alike went away.
    With the example of Montpellier in the 12th century, you can see what I mean.
    Sitting as the entrance door of the French kingdom to Mediterranean trade and its cosmopolitan influences, as much Levantine (ties with Provence-Toulouse lords in Palestine and Syria), Byzantine (note here the OTL marriage of Eudokia Komnene to Guilhem VIII of Montpellier), or Islamic ones (especially the influences from Muslim Spain)...

    Speaking of Komnene princesses to marry, any plan to marry Komnene princesses to Frankish rulers in the Levant yet ?
    I believe I made the case there were quite a few Komnene princesses around, though I should have precised that diplomatically, it's rather an advantage for prospective marital alliances.
    Is Prince-Duke-Count Roger married yet? I understood he was still young.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 5:42 AM
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  3. UnaiB Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2017
    An interesting and plausible way to get an independent Aquitaine ITTL is for Petronilla of Aragon (heiress of the Kingdom of Aragon) to marry the fictional son of William X of Aquitaine of TTL instead of the Count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV of OTL, making the Dukes of Aquitaine to be also kings of Aragon. IOTL the royal house of Aragon had close ties with the House of Poitiers, being Petronilla granddaughter of William IX of Aquitaine through her mother.
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  4. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Baiona , Ipar Euskal Herria (Bayonne, FR)
    Not really. That's just having the Aragonese kings in the same position as the English kings.
    Plus, Aragon had more interests in an union with Barcelona than with Aquitaine, both on geographical (Navarre stood in the path) and commercial terms (access to the Mediterranean sea and its trading networks).
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  5. jocay Ambiguously Brown

    Aug 21, 2018
    New York
    I could see the Ilkhanate converting to Nestorianism as opposing to merely tolerating it as IOTL but I don't see that situation lasting long, especially once the Mongol empire breaks up and these Christian Ilkhans have to deal with rebellions by their Muslim subjects. They would need to have a big chunk of Iraq, specifically northern Iraq to have the manpower to keep their subjects somewhat compliant.

    And the idea of Islam becoming an eastern, Persianate religion by association is kinda cool.

  6. JamesFox Member

    May 21, 2006
    The Steppe Way of War is totally alien to the settled peoples of Northern Iraq. In OTL, the Il-Khanate depended on Turkic troops, who were all Muslim. The only way the Il-Khanate could avoid this problem if they went Nestorian (or Buddhist) would be to adopt the Mamluk system of slave soldiers (and teach the slaves Nestorianism or Buddhism instead of Islam). This is alien to the Mongols, but not to the lands that they conquered, but the Mongol vassals under the Il-Khans might find it unacceptable.

    The Golden Horde and Blue Horde don't have that problem since north of central Asia, the steppe peoples were still Pagan.
  7. TheHandsomeBrute Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    The Mongols, if they are same as OTL, will destory any other armed force in on the world if the climate is too humid. Constantinople will fall, it's defensive were at the same level as Beijing and it fell. The Mongols will also not be the ones storming the city but the conscripted people from other countryside and other Byzantine Cities.
  8. trajen777 Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    Its interesting in that much of the mothers of the Khans were Christian -- and with the failure of the Muslim states (really in many ways cut off by the growth of Byz and Crusaders (esp if Baghdad is destroyed ) -- Not sure what will happen with Mosul (if this is destroyed then really the Muslims have no successful state to be comfortable with a religion of failure (militarily) vs the Christian religion. So adoption of Christianity would be highly likely (with Buddhism strong in the east)
  9. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    I’d contest that. When the Mongols got into Europe, they were very much at the far end of a logistics trail that would only get worse the farther they went into the relatively hostile terrain. My suspicions are that if Ogodei had not died, you would see raids go farther, but not decisive conquest.
  10. Icedaemon Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    I'd say that Mosul being destroyed on the way to Baghdad is vastly more likely than the crusaders actually successfully reaching their destination. They are simply so far past their own logistical capabilities, totally dependent on the goodwill of the Romans to even have a slim chance of making it to Badhdad while at the same time led by an arrogant fool who would do everything in his power to erode said goodwill.
  11. DanMcCollum P-WI

    May 29, 2011
    Wauwatosa, WI
    That's my reading of the situation as well. There might be some raids that reach I the HRE - but I suspect that even these might be a bit chancy, and you could see one or more defeated and turned back. At this point, you'll see an eventual border between the Mongols and the Central European kingdoms develop
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  12. TheHandsomeBrute Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Mongols would have sweep away the European armies as they did to the Hungarian Army, which was a good example of a European Army. Remember the people who lived in Europe at that time when heard of the crushing of Hungary was sure that Mongols were going to arrive at the Atlantic soon because of there was no army to stop them in Europe.

    The Mongols logistical based it everything on the horse, and if you needed extra more took it of the land.
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  13. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014
    Please compare the distance between A) the Mongol heartland and Beijing, and B) the Mongol heartland and Constantinople. Reality isn't a game where you can just blob endlessly. You are going to run into your operational limits. Genghis Khan is the greatest conqueror in human history, but even he had limits. So did his successors. In OTL, the Mongols had the considerable fortune that when they breached beyond Persia, they came upon a region of states that were either in decline or small and engaged in all manner of rivalries.

    When that is not the case, the situation changes.
  14. TheHandsomeBrute Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    The Mongolian heartland is the steppe. It isn't Mongolia. They are a nomadic people who can move everything. You are thinking like Mongol Army is based out of a city, it is based of the steppe and they control the entire steppe at that point. From southern Ukraine to Manchuria. There is no other Steppe community who has a different Khan.

    The Northern European Plain is like a highway for them. There aren't any natural barriers for them too cross which they havent successful crossed before.

    The Islamic world wasn't in decline. They didn't have a Universal Monarchy true, bur they weren't in decline. They were divided into different states that warred and competed with each other, just the Europe.

    It was the Mongols who destroyed and brought about the decline which the region experience agreeable to today.
  15. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    except bejing was right next to the mongols a stone throw away really, Constantinople had access to the see, longer walls, more places to attack due more places to attack, also it not at the very edge of there territorial range, honestly you can't really compared the 2. While the Mongols are damm successfully they have been stopped in many places, levant, southeast asia, india, exc and iT important to remember the Mongols are just painter, it not like anything within the lights is my kingdom. Also they didn't lose in venitman becuase of cliamte southern china is similar in humdity and climate to Vietnam. It was because they were defeated by an army like any other. Also, why attack honestly? With an empire who woud be quite a challenge and a massive endeavors when they ere much easier pickings around like Russia eastern Europe
    yah steppe people stilll have a homelands they don't just wander the steppe they have migrations but they aren't endless warnders across the steppe they still have specific homeland areas, Mongolia is Mongols, sure that may change when a migration happen but in between those times they establish themselves in a specific area.

    Also, I would like to point out that the Mongols invasions are a classic example when a lot of things when right for the Mongols that allowed them to win and a lot of historical contingency and conjuncture happen too. Also all the wealth of the mongol conquest went to Mongol and when mongolian officer retired they went back to there homeland of mongila.
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  16. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014
    Lots of assumptions here. "The steppe" isn't uniform, and it's not a magical unpopulated region. There are people living there with their own fingers in the pie, who aren't just somehow unconditionally loyal. There was a lot of politicking going on -- the Mongols were far from a bunch of savages, they had elaborate diplomatic networks in place -- and the real concern is balancing various powers and interests within a vast, pluriform empire. An external foe (e.g. some "other Steppe community who has a different Khan") would be easier to deal with politicically, by comparison. The larger your empire grows, and the faster it does so, the more internal stresses you encounter. Which is why you can't just "blob", like in a game. The Mongol conquests didn't happen by accident. If it were as insanely easy as you seem to think, some oter shmuck would have done it long before.

    In reality, earlier "steppe" invasions -- while often of great scale -- were not so wide and sweeping as that of the Mongols. Theirs was a unique feat, and the exact conditions that allowed for that must be understood.

    Now, you are the Mongols. You run into limits. Once you run out of steppe, things become a little different, but not fatally so. European warfare, in a diverse landscape with a high degree of fortification, proved to be difficult. Same goes for Southern China. Persia provided its own set of challenges, but had the advantage(!) of featuring a central regime that one could decapitate, and lots of peoples who were aggravated with said regime. Natural allies, that is. So that was taken. But after that? Syrian desert? Anatolian mountains? Not so attractive. Which is why the Mongols never made it to Jerusalem or Constantinople.

    The power in decline to which I refer is the Abbasid Caliphate. This was starting to engage in reforms, but the Mongols arrived "too early" for those to have been implemented. To the detriment of Baghdad! And the Turkic statelets of eastern Anatolia were fractured and squabbling remnants, which were easy to gobble up. And so the Mongols succeeded there. But did they manage to get any further? No. Now, if we replace those squabbling statelets with the eastern bounds of a resurgent ERE and its equally resurgent Armenian buffer state(s), and if we see bolstered Crusader states compared to OTL... then why should the Mongols take Jerusalem or Constantinople, when in OTL they did not do so? Their opponents will be stronger in this ATL!

    tl;dr -- the Mongols are very mighty, but it is all too easy to lapse into unrealistic wankage.
  17. avernite Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2014
    Also important to remember that Hungary didn't lose most of its tougher (i.e. stone) castles, and to steer back to the subject, if there's anything the crusader states were known for it is tough castles.

    Granted that in the case of Hungary-and-beyond noone on the Mongol side could justify bringing over hordes of siege equipment and siege engineers for a years-long campaign, and where they did see the justification (in China) it did eventually work to take forts, so the Hungarian case may not be fully applicable to a (probably) richer Levantine realm.
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  18. Rdffigueira A citizen of the Southern Hemisphere

    Nov 14, 2014
    Yes, most likely. The (southern) Arabs, independently of the fortunes of the Levant, will most certainly continue their expansion across the maritime routes in eastern Africa and in the Indies, although colonization of Australia seems indeed a bit too much. An Islamic Madagascar is very well within the realm of plausibility. Perhaps even a splintered Swahili Caliphate, that would be interesting.

    Crusaders were not and never will be strong in horse archery, especially not against steppe nomads. They will depend on fortifications, in-depth defensive strategy and regular heavy cavalry. The same as always.

    This is very good info. I've never seen someone get down to minute details such as average speed and ratio of the types of troops in the army. Very well done!

    Yeah, that's the gist of the situation. The Hungarian example will be the most useful to assess how the Crusaders would react to a possible Mongol invasion, especially considering that, by the time they do arrive, the Outremer will be much more heavily fortified than it is at the time of the TL right now.

    Very possible, because I'm interested in exploring new divergences, but not something predetermined already. A conversion to Nestorianism would indeed be a very curious situation, because from day to night, one of the largest empires of the world would be adopting a Christian heresy that never gained much traction in the Mediterranean "homeland" of Christianity.

    For the Ilkhanate, however, I see it as more probable that they would indeed convert to Islam or simply remain pagan until their demise.

    Very interesting! Never heard about this particular tactical formation (at least not with this specific name). Do you happen to have any sources or texts explaining it in greater detail? It would be good to have a better picture of it.

    Alright, there's a lot of subjects here, so we'll go by parts:

    1) Mesopotamia: fair points, but you'll see that the Armenian campaign will end before they go "downriver" to Lower Mesopotamia. In any case, the Euphrates is closer to their logistical bases in Syria, so I don't really see them going as far as the Tigris at the moment.

    2) France: I don't have good reason to get rid of the Capetians in the timeframe we're right now, so I guess they'll stay and their development would be similar to OTL unless some divergence is noted. I agree about the premise of a slower centralization if we don't replicate the circumstances of the English Angevin inheritance in French mainland. We can expect, though, that the "hyper" vassal dynasties (Normandie, Poitiers, Blois, etc) will remain too, and this creates a more dynamic internal political scenario, as you said in a previous post.

    3) Albigensians: great ideas! I have plans for Occitania as a whole, as we've often discussed already, because I see it would be fascinating to have a "regional" power in the Francophone sphere of the western Mediterranean to play the role that Aragon would play in the later 14th Century. Montpellier most certainly deserves a piece of this case, as does Toulouse, but I'll wait to lapidate these ideas once we get closer to it, especially because I need to research more about the Cathars.

    4) Komnenoi marriages: gosh, man, I had never heard about the marriage between Montpellier and the Komnenoi, very, very interesting stuff here. From a purely strategic (military alliance) standpoint, it doesn't seems to make a lot of sense, but then, the Byzantines were well integrated into the geopolitics of Catholic Europe, so it doesn't surprises me.

    We'll certainly see some intermarriage betwen Byzantine and Franco-Levantine nobility, sooner than you might think. In the case of Roger, specifically, I'm not sure if I did mention it previously, but he is married to Alberada, Bohemond's daughter (who is younger than him, even).

    But if the Normans won't want a Komnenoi marriage (they would prefer a Sicilian one, I believe), there are plenty of other candidates, if John so desires.
  19. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    @Rdffigueira i not sure why there be more drastic effect in east Africa especially so far away unless we just insert because of butterflies but then the whole world be different I don’t really seee what would change to make madacgar Islamic
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  20. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    It’s been mentioned that centralizing the HRE will always be difficult due to the powerful decentralizing forces within the empire. If centralization is desired, though, I have a suggestion: inheritances. Have the Welfs luck their way into a throne or two and amass enough direct control of the Empire so as to bully/direct the rest of it.

    For a time frame, the Black Death/its equivalent ITTL (I could easily see it happening in a different year due to butterflies for example) could kill off a royal line or two. It happened to Norway IOTL.