And All Nations Shall Gather To It - A Crusades TL

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

  1. Rdffigueira A citizen of the Southern Hemisphere

    Nov 14, 2014
    Well, while I admit that I liked the Aragon + Aquitaine idea (indeed, the geographic problem wouldn't be really too difficult to overcome; we've had a Burgundian monarch in Portugal and a Champaignois one in Navarra, so an Aquitainian in Aragon wouldn't be too far-fetched), I agree that it wouldn't change so much for Aquitaine, whose Kings would still be vassals to the King of France.

    This, however, brings HUGE changes for Catalonia itself. Now, I have to ask, how viable is to have Barcelona as a noble republic, similar to Florence, in the case the House of Barcelona never joins with Aragon? Yay or nay?

    Agreed with both. We might see one or another Nestorian Khan (there was one IOTL, if I remember correctly) but they would be even worse off in Persia than the Yuan were in China. The Ilkhanate either remains pagan (albeit more tolerant to native Asian denominations) to its ultimate end or converts to Islam.

    Also, @jocay, you've predicted the direction in which I'm taking the TL, actually. The axis of Islam will gradually get away from Syria and Egypt (and, well, Iraq and Arabia), and become more centered in the Iranian region, once the Crusades reintegrate the eastern Mediterranean regions to Christendom.

    Even if Islam "loses" the western parts of the Near East, it will still be, by far, the predominant religion in the Middle East by far and in Central Asia. If the Mongols establish a Khanate in Persia as IOTL, as said above, either they convert to Islam or they remain pagan, but Christianity isn't really a viable possibility for too a few more than a couple generations.

    Now, we don't need to see everything in black and white. There is very well a possibility of Asia seeing a greater syncretism between Nestorian Christianity, Sunni Islam and Buddhism. Many readers will disagree, for sure, but I from the beginning will contest the premise that an ideological conciliation between these faiths is completely impossible, even between Christianity and Islam.

    I'm now just thinking about that historical Crusades-era mod for "Mount and Blade: Warband". You make your band with some 50 guys and go directly into Baghdad and put it to siege. If it happened in the TL, would it count?

    And then they would be rescued by friendly alien bats coming from space, of course!

    Finally, about the Mongols in Europe situation:

    I'll have to side with @Skallagrim and @Wolttaire on this one, even though I understand @TheHandsomeBrute's reasoning about the overall scope of the Mongol invasions. Now, there's a lot of debate (in this Forum and outside of it) about the invasion of Europe, WI Ogedei had not died while they were in Hungary, etc. However, there is indeed a world of difference between attacking China and attacking Europe - not that this is particularly relevant to this TL, mind you, than the (possible) invasion of the Outremer, as mentioned various and various times -, the steppe notwithstanding.

    But, since we're on the subject, I'll have to make an obligatory mention to @St. Just's "Surfing the Web" TL, which features invading Italy and sacking Rome. I feel like I'm obliged to pay an homage to it in-story... but, once again, we're about 200 years early, right?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 5:54 AM
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  2. Rdffigueira A citizen of the Southern Hemisphere

    Nov 14, 2014
    Just an idea thrown out of the head, without any particular context, of course. But perhaps a more successful dynasty in Yemen goes in an overseas expansionist trend in the Indian Ocean, mirroring Portugal (but some centuries earlier), could do the trick. Islam was, in any case, by far the dominant religion in the eastern coast of Africa south of the Horn, so I don't think it would be difficult to change this pattern a bit so that it becomes more comprehensive.

    The Elder Welfs were indeed in a good position for it, before Henry the Lion was undone by the Hohenstaufen (even then, they survived as a lineage in Brunswick for centuries afterwards). Having Welf Saxony and Bavaria creates a serious opposition to the other Stem dynasties, and most likely stunts the ascension of "later" principalities such as those of Austria and Brandenburg.

    And did you just happen to suggest an early Black Death? Because that's an interesting idea.


    EDIT: I've just writing finished an update, but its kinda late here in my timezone, so I'll be taking a couple days to revise and post it. Keep tuned!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  3. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    perhaps but you need something to push them to make it then do that and at the moment there really nothing to achieve that and the coast of madscgar is Islamic I just don’t see why the inland converts and how any country would accomplish this but I digress
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    Jan 24, 2010
    The DMV
    Oman could definitely get in on the action a few centuries early; you could also have greater Islamization in Eastern Africa without an outside interlocutor -- OTL Portuguese sources mention Muslim advisors and traders as far south as Great Zimbabwe/Monomotapa. Have Great Zimbabwe islamize and not keep collapsing every time a gold vein runs out, and they could in turn spread Islam south to the Nguni peoples and/or northeast into the Congo with enough time.

    Other areas of Muslim expansion could include India as in OTL, SE Asia (Champa does better, eventually converts a la OTL, and either crush the Khmer or induce them to convert to Islam rather than Theravada Buddhism at the end of the Angkor civilizational complex), as well as in China (let's say the Yuan convert and make Hui and new Han converts able to rise up in their ethnic hierarchy, which in turn incentivizes conversion along with the influx of Persians and Turks that are already Muslims). You could also easily have a Muslim Philippines.

    As for the Mongols -- Ain Jalut expy at Har Megiddo? Between them and the Byzantines, they have the terrain and heavy cavalry to push back a Mongol incursion a la the OTL Mamluks. Also would like to see a Mongol invasion of India, which could actually hurt Indian Islam and either reinvigorate Buddhism or see a new Mongol-descended kshatriya class reinvigorate Hindu polities in the region (at least until later Islamic conquerors decide to come fuck up the subcontinent.) India also offers a lot of possibilities with the Chola, who had their own maritime empire in SE Asia and could, at least theoretically, fuck around in Madagascar or Eastern Africa if they decided they wanted to stop Muslim merchants from muscling in on their turf. IOTL, the Muslims only overcame the Tamils as a major Indonesian mercantile presence with the coming of Zheng He (and, of course, centuries of slowly growing their communities) -- and Zheng He is easily butterflied.
  5. DanMcCollum P-WI

    May 29, 2011
    Wauwatosa, WI
    Even if the Ilkhanate doesn't convert to the Church of the East (well, for more than a couple of generations) it would be interesting if we could find a way to make this Church stronger in a few regions. Although it survives to this very day, its a shadow of its former self, and seeing it more prominent (even if not anywhere near the majority) would be super interesting and cool.
  6. jocay Ambiguously Brown

    Aug 21, 2018
    New York
    Ah yes, a Mongol/Mughal(?) empire based out of Delhi would be something. Perhaps the alt-Chagatai Khanate is located a bit further south, based out of Herat or Kabul, and expands southeast towards India?
  7. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    Hey, there’s an idea—Afghanistan as the center of a Mongol state. That makes it much more prosperous and stable than IOTL, and in the long run could have serious effects across Central Asia.
  8. jocay Ambiguously Brown

    Aug 21, 2018
    New York
    IOTL a large contingent of Mongols did end up settling in Afghanistan, specifically Herat, and made up a large chunk of the armies of conquerors such as Timur and Babur; there was also a dialect of Mongolian (Moghol) that until recently was spoken. The Hazara are also hypothesized to be their descendants though they had adopted a variety of Persian.
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  9. von Adler Generallöjtnant

    Jun 21, 2005
    Stockholm, Sweden
    It was also called a "square marching formation" or "fighting march".

    This paper describes it pretty well. The first time it is mentioned seems to be right before Ascalon 1099.

    I made a picture of how it should look (minus the cavalry in the open centre, and ignore the torsion artillery units).

  10. Some Bloke Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2008
    A small village in Arkhamshire.
    Looks a lot like a Tercio.
  11. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Baiona , Ipar Euskal Herria (Bayonne, FR)
    The Portuguese House of Burgundy was a scion of the Capetian house of Burgundy, but they never ruled over Burgundy proper. The Champenois dynasty of Navarre is a better example though.
    Still, besides the point Barcelona has a better offer to make to Aragon than the Aquitanian do as I explained, to take the Champenois example, the geographical break introduces another break in the political continuum.
    The Angevin empire was coherent as it was made up of territories bordering each other in a continuous succession all the way from Normandy to the Pyrenees and were connected to England by way of sea. Meanwhile, Aragon and Barcelona were bordering each other. This geographical continuum allowed a political one, but in the case of Champenois counts ruling Navarre, the distance was such that the Count-King could only really focus on one of them at a time.
    It's a bit like Edessa in your TL when Count Baldwin settles in Tiberias and let the county to its own (well, his nephew's) device.

    It's not that I consider the idea of an Aquitanian-Aragon match too far-fetched, it's just that considering the pros and cons and the potential implications, I don't find it too desirable.
    The most important drawback for the Aquitaine dukes is that Aragon is anchored in a totally different geopolitical area, which is south of the Pyrenees, the Iberian peninsula. So, if they chose the Aragonese crown, they can't devote all their attention to Aquitaine.

    That said, if Barcelona doesn't unite with Aragon, it may sooner or later fall back into the French sphere of influence.
    Since the days of Charlemagne, Barcelona was de jure part of France but the counts never formally swear the hommage liege to the French King ever since the Capetians sat on the throne, even though they only aknowledged the last Carolingian kings pro forma. The King of France only formally renounced any claim of sovereignty over the county in the Corbeil treaty of 1258, which concluded the decades long dispute between both over their respective sphere of influence in the South (in the context of the Albigensian crusades).
    Without Aragonese backing, it remains to be seen whether or not Barcelona had the means to expand as much as it did IOTL. The Balearic Islands may still be within reach with a good naval support so Barcelona could claim them on its own, but I don't know if Catalan manpower alone would be enough for Valencia (it would likely fall under either Castillan or Aragonese dominion).
    If the OTL marriage with Guilhem VIII's daughter still happens ITTL, then the Counts would extend their dominion over Montpellier. That's about the OTL Kingdom of Majora, but without Aragon and Valencia to anchor it into the Iberian sphere. The possession of Cerdagne, Roussillon, Montpellier and perhaps Provence (if it doesn't befall to a cadet branch) combined with lack of land expansion south of the Ebro river, would probably tie Barcelona to southern France, both politically and also commercially. So, if the times come of a royal intervention, Barcelona can't hide behind the Aragonese crown to formally become independent.

    Of note, the Counts of Barcelona and Toulouse had had a dispute over the inheritance of Provence, though this was eventually solved by a partition; still, the King of Aragon, from that same House of Barcelona, later became a staunch supporter of Toulouse against the French king during the Albigensian crusade.
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  12. dunHozzie Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2015
    Lol, I was just going to refer to this as well.
  13. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Baiona , Ipar Euskal Herria (Bayonne, FR)
    Well, you just get to look at the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Jerusalem at the time of Mongols' arrival... or rather what was left of them.
    Constantinople had been sacked, plundered and effectively ruined by the Latins in 1204, Bulgars had broken off, Greece had been "balkanized" and Nicea was biding its time in western Anatolia, stuck between the Seljuqs of Rum and the Latins in the Aegean.
    Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Jerusalem was reduced to a coastal strip and had barely held onto Jerusalem after its recovery by Frederick II in 1228, only to lose it to the Khwarezmians in 1244.
    Then tell me what wealth or threat these targets could have been for the Mongols to have considered bothering about them.

    When on their own, the Mongols' logistics was not so reliant on a chain of supply than they were on communication lines.
    Supplies were essentially taken off the land they campaigned on or extorted from locals. Each Mongols typically travelled with several horses so they had always fresh horses and also accessible meat and milk at reach (horses were also used as cattle). However, the drawback is the availability of resources to gaze upon. The Pontic steppes are a good ground for thousands if not tens of thousands of horses, the Levant and Vietnam are less so (though in the latter case the climate played a key role).
    Invading Hungary and Poland wasn't so much of an obstacle. After the campaign season, the Mongols would just withdraw to the steppes in Ukraine, only to return the next season, before eventually turning the Hungarian plains into a new forward base of operations for further campaigning, just like the Huns and the Magyars did in their time.

    The density of fortified towns, the climate made a conquest difficult, but Mongols never shied away from such difficulties.
    Multiple sieges were a painful effort, but fortifications were irrelevant if there was no field army to relieve the siege. Often, these field armies ended up routed if not destroyed. There, even though the European armies may have fielded an efficient heavy cavalry, none of the European armies of the time had a mobility to rival that of the Mongols whose speed at maneuvering was paramount to their success, to surprise unexpecting and often arrogant commanders. Hungarian, Czech and Polish rulers were no exception.
    Then the besieged town was captured, brutally sacked, and the towns after, without any hope of being able to hold indefinitely on their own and without quick relief from their lord whose army has just been decisively vanquished, surrender without a fight. Meanwhile, local rulers, either out of opportunism or out of survival instinct, side with them and supply them with troops.
    So, to adapt Mongols' tactics took some time and usually, this happened only after a first contact few survived as independent and coherent entities as the Hungarians, the Poles and the Mamluks did.

    Europe's survival as that of the Mamluks had more to do with the context that was favorable to them. In Europe's case, the Mongols lost interest as they first became embroiled into succession conflicts before their focus switched to other areas, be it China or the Levant. It would then be another four decades before a serious attempt was made (invasion of 1285/1286). For the Mamluks, Ain Jalut was more of a setback for the Mongols than a decisive defeat. The death of Mongke and the inter Mongol conflicts that followed, notably between the Ilkhanate and the Golden Horde, and it would be two decades before another serious attempt was made (invasion of 1281).
    Song China, unlike Vietnam, was relatively close to Mongol bases in northern China, and open on a wider front, that is the whole of the Yangtze river valley. Tonkin and Annam's configuration is that of a narrow trip of coastal lands caught between the sea and the mountains which didn't left much choice as to which road use to invade, unlike in southern China. Plus, the interest of conquering Vietnam was way less important than had been that for the Song dynasty, which was both a wealthy and prosperous target and a threat to Mongols' holding of northern China.

    Plus, if the Mongol cavalry was an essential component of their invasions, they did also rely on auxiliaries and tributaries to make for infantry and specialists. During the siege of Baghdad, Hulagu called about a thousands Chinese siege and artillery engineers, Armenian, Georgian, Antiochan, Persian and Turkish auxiliaries.
    As it goes with their loyalties, these went as long as Mongol reputation of invicibility and their achievements follow one another until Ain Jalut: destruction of the Khwarezmian Empire, routed the Russian princes, rolled over Poland and Hungary, brought the Rum Seljuqs on their knees...
    Psychological warfare here is not to be overlooked, as it was one of the strengths displayed by the Mongols: make a brutal example of the first city to resist and the others fall in line no matter how well fortified they were, which worked pretty well in Persia and Syria.

    All in all, if Mongols were ever to consider targeting the Byzantines and the Latins for expansion, then they won't be intimidated by the difficulties.
    And as they showed with the Songs, they can be very obstinate. And in way of manpower and resources, once their rear secured and plenty of auxiliaries at hand, they don't have any problem at waging a long war (between their initial invasion of Khwarezm and the sack of Baghdad, we are speaking of nearly forty years of campaigns succeediing one another).
    The ultimate obstacle to the Mongols are the Mongols themselves and their infighting, the breakup of their empire into several khanates which separately are unable to project the force necessary for conquests as extensive as their early feats.

    So, to get back to Jerusalem and the Byzantines, they are in no way safe from Mongol invasion because of their strength and wealth. These are the very traits that make them targets.

    If I was to imagine a Mongol invasion of the Byzantine empire, there I would go:
    Mongols don't arrive unaware of the ground they march on, the lords and loyalties, the military strengths and weaknesses. So, if they dare to target Constantinople, they will take the barrier of the straits out with a simple solution, they'll just go around the whole Black Sea.
    Actually, that would be probably a two pronged invasion, one through Armenia into Anatolia, and the other from southern Ukraine into the Balkans. They wouldn't probably make a rush at the city first but clear the path in Anatolia and around the Danube up to Thrace, burning, pillaging, battling occasional Byzantine armies come to oppose.
    A two pronged invasion will force the Rhomaion to divide their forces between both frontiers, which is already weakening them.
    Then, I guess the Mongols would also have a third invasion in the meantime into Hungary, more to neutralize any possibility of relief by the Hungarians than to conquer them (in contrast to OTL).
    Once that first year, the territories are properly devastated, the population is terrorized (psychological warfare again), the military opposition is either severly weakened or almost blasted away by this first year, then they go for Constantinople itself and blockade it from land, from both sides of the straits. There is still the Byzantine navy to take into account, but that won't prevent them to make a run for the walls. Alternatively, or concurrently, they can make a go for Greece.
    I'm not saying whether or not they can work it out. They can fail to break Constantinople walls, see a crusading army called upon by the Pope and formed by the HRE, France and England to rush to Hungary and Constantinople's relief ...
    In Syria and Palestine, they could likewise be satisfied with routing the Jerusalemite field army and secure Damascus and the Oronte valley, or less, delaying further moves to a later time once the Rhomaion would have been dealt with.
    Or Constantinople could simply accept to give a tribute and abandon Jerusalem.
    Many options, possibilities, outcomes.

    EDIT: By the way, when the Mongols came, Anatolia was anything but a highway. The Rum Seljuqs were on the rise and had near hegemony. Kose Dag just broke their domination of the region.
    And even though the Abbasid Caliph experienced a resurgence amidst the Great Seljuq collapse, they were in no way going anywhere to become a powerful entity as Ayyubids or the Seljuqs themselves.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 8:29 AM
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  14. UnaiB Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2017
    Those both problems (geographical and commercial) can be solved very easily:

    1. IOTL Alfonso VII of Castile-Leon and Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona (consort king of Aragon) signed two treaties (the Treaty of Carrion in 1140 and the Treaty of Tudilen in 1151) to divide the Kingdom of Navarre between themselves (ending its independence), but for various reasons the partition plan never carried out. If we get a personal union between Aquitaine and Aragon and an equivalent treaty that is successfully implemented is signed, the land connection between both territories would be much more direct (because Navarre wouldn't exist and, consequently, wouldn't stood in the path).
    2. Although Aragon and Barcelona don't form a union, the aragonese expansion to the Mediterranean sea is very likely to occur anyway, achieving a beachhead in the region of the Ebro river delta (near the city of Tortosa) and impeding the expansion towards the south of the County of Barcelona. IOTL the king Alfonso I of Aragon (Petronilla's uncle) tried to get an exit to the Mediterranean conquering one by one the Muslim fortifications and castles that defended the corridor of fortified villages that lead to the mouth of the Ebro river, but he died trying to besiege one of these towns (the town of Fraga) in 1134.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 10:44 AM
  15. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Baiona , Ipar Euskal Herria (Bayonne, FR)
    This still poses a problem. As I said, you can't have the ruler devoting attention south of the Pyrenees without neglecting what's north.
    Aquitaine has interests to look after in the Loire valley, in Auvergne, in Toulouse, while Aragonese interests are towards Navarre, the Ebro, Barcelona and Valencia. The House of Poitiers couldn't possibly deal with the King of France if it's stuck south of the Pyrenees.
    EDIT: At least, the Aragon-Barcelona union was coherent regarding the centers of interests. Aquitaine can't really outbid the counts of Barcelona on that to get the hand of Petronilla.
    Navarre conquest and partition was a possibility, Barcelona meanwhile was a certainty.
  16. Icedaemon Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    A thought regarding France: Where is the heir to the throne? If the king snuffs it during the crusade, as seems likely, might his heir also be in danger? If so, who is next in line? I am assuming that the current king has offspring already, or is his successor-to-be still OTL's Louis VII? Are any of the king's brothers also on the crusade?

    As it is said the king is young, if he leaves only an infant on the throne, would his brothers not try and contest that?

    Eh, to me this really smacks of a 'pendulum effect' thing (or whatever it's called). To me, the idea that more successful crusades would mean Islam succeeding where it did not makes no sense. Now, I can definitely see a more of a maritime focus for the islamic powers, particularly if they need to battle Crusader forces in the red sea to safeguard their holiest places and keep the pilgrimage routes open. However, while them dominating more of the east coast of Africa as a result makes sense, them being more successful (or even as successful as OTL) in East Asia makes no sense whatsoever - Fanatical soldiers would if they have that option rather war in the holy land, surely? And without great military successes in the Indian subcontinent, the mercantile power and settlers which led to Malaysia and Indonesia becoming islamic would as far as I can tell not even exist.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 5:57 PM
  17. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    Nah first son rule apply and by this time we are starting to reach the area where you can’t even take the throne. Sadly because it be way more fun, it not like crusader kings and in such a developed state like France you are for more likely to see a regency by one brother or a shared regency which generally cause more but not always cause more chaos.

    I concur with @Icedaemon it doesn’t make sense for the butterflies to extend that far, sure a more powerful Oman fleet to deal with crusader( it not a guarante they would fight at all most likely for a while Oman would dominate in the Red Sea and wouldn’t grow the fleet until the crusaders start interfering in there sphere of influence and until they have a large enough fleet for that. When that happen I except with a more dominate navy in the Red Sea... what changes? Islam has always dominate the seas in east Africa and a stronger navy wouldn’t cause any inland shift and all the way on the perhrify that be a massive change in Oman to have influence there that would require pods outside of the crusaders if we want a more Islamic east we need a pod outside of the crusader but a more powerful Oman is well within the cards a within crusaders building a navy in the Red Sea.
    Edit: meant Yemen
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 8:36 PM
  18. Galahad Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2019
    So... I'm not really getting the borders well... Can I get a map on how much the Byzantines and the Crusaders have conquered?
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  19. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    previous thread marks one should say map on them
  20. galileo-034 Extreme Centrist Conspirator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Baiona , Ipar Euskal Herria (Bayonne, FR)
    Unlike elsewhere in Europe, the Capetians developped early on a strong legalist tradition, which they incidentally used to undercut their feudal vassals.
    That goes along with relatively uncontested successions by French nobility (well, Edward III was first and foremost King of England and Charles the Bad was king of Navarre, and that was the Hundred Years War).
    Of the minorities and regencies that happened, the near family stayed loyal to the infant king, be it Louis IX, Charles VIII, Louis XIII or Louis XV. Actually, there were quite minorities to speak of in Capetian history. That same old dynastic luck if you ask me.
    The heir, however young he may be, was never contested, the extreme case was that of John I, the posthumous son of Louis X, who practically became king in utero (even though he lived 5 days, his uncle never contested his right to the throne, otherwise nobody would have waited how the birth went on). Even though John I only lived 5 days, I would say the example is relevant as it fits the pattern of legalism followed by Capetians.

    In any event, King Phillip would have left the regency in the hands of his mother, Dowager Queen Adelaide, since his brothers are quite young (Louis is 19), and his has no uncles left.
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