Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by tom, Jan 9, 2004.
Good job, guys; this is really original. I like it!
And my yellows look light brown!
I got so surprised I messed up I checked the original picture...it had the colors I remember. Wassup!?
Hey, speaking of wars, let's have our Buddhist Mongols attack all over the place between 1100 and 1310.
From Norman's personal message:
Back to your question. We know a couple of things, first, the legions were pretty good medics. There was an interesting program on the history channel that suggested that despite being in battle all the time, legionnaires actually had a longer life expectancy than ordinary roman citizens. If we assume that this carries over into a time line, we probably have early advances in medicine and chemistry.
Further, since Mithraism was much more celestially oriented, it is likely we would have had earlier astronomical and navigational advances.
We could tie this to a fact I just learned today, the goths actually began to use boats to raid the Eastern Roman Empire soon after they arrived in the Black Sea area. (seems they took over some ships and went asailing.)
I am a little unclear in some of the other areas, but chemistry would certainly suggest metalurgy would soon follow.
So let's try these
1200: Medical advances suggest the existance of something suggestive of germs and bacteria. (They can't see them yet. but they know they exist and how to prevent the spread)
1150: Discovery or improvement of recipes for gun powder. Initially used in bombs but eventually applied to primitive weopens.
1312: Wide spread literacy combines with improved knowledge of metals and how to work them produces moveable type and publishing. 1325 Mysteries of Mithraism published in Gotland
Maybe the Little Ice Age started earlier?
Such minor climate fluctuations are sensitive to tiny perturbations, maybe even on the scale our ATL is producing. This could cause the Mongols to get pushy earlier. Or maybe it is the Buddhism, or an earlier Khan.
Perhaps alchemy develops sooner in a Mithraic society as predominantly a spiritual discipline. Medieval alchemy developed OTL in part as a spiritual discipline though historians argue over how large was that part. Recall that the touchstone work of Rosicrucianism is the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. However this Hermetic discipline was something of a countercurrent to the Christian religion (Jungians argue it was a reaction to psychological inadequacies in Christianity) while in Mithraism it would be more in sync. From Alchemy you go to chemistry.
A young MOngol boy named Temujin, and his family are basically made outcasts from the safety of his tribe, and begin to wander the fringes of the nomadic Mongol areas.
During this time of trial, he meets a Buddhist monk who aids both he and his family, and as a result, Temujin begins to feel some identification with the Buddha, particularly when he learns of his noble birth and subsequent wanderings.
But this new found identification with Buddha proves to be only a veneer on the young mongol boy, and as he fights his way to the top of his tribe, his perspective on these teachings changes. He comes to believe that the conqueror is a valid ncarnation and step to a balanced state of being. In other words, he sees himself as a sort of buddha with attitude.
Shamans and religious hoaxsters are able over the years, develop a sort of core set of mongol buddhist beliefs that are consistent with Temujin's personal beliefs.
Through a combination of adroit political moves and strong arm tactics, Temujin is declared Genghis Khan in 1206 by other Mongol chieftains. Since his brand of Buddhism includes the Conqueror as a valid incarnation of Buddha, his position soon also has taken on many religious aspects.
He determines to bring his brand of Buddhism to the world, and in this TL his conquests mirror those of OTL. Originally seeking to conquer China he eventually turns to easier 'pickings' and expands into the West, conquering the Uzbeks and many Turks, forceably converting them to Buddhism.
Finally his hordes careen into the growing Orthodox and Mithric areas of our Russias and the Baltics where, in a stunning series of battles, the mongol hordes are held but not defeated, first by the byzantine Orthodox, and then by a smaller but very well disciplined Mithric force made up of soldiers from throughout Europe.
Unfortunately, by the time the dust settles on all this, Persia and several other Kingdoms have fallen to the Brutal forces of Buddha.
Sorry, Norman, but by this time the sky is filled with butterflies the size of 747s. No way would our Gengis Khan be born. I am open to suggestions, but with my belief in the Butterfly Effect this is a no starter, like my dogma that the Apostalic Succession must be unbroken.
I figured an earlier Mongol warlord-to-be (name, anyone?) meets the monk. By 1200 the Golden Horde of the Buddha (green) is pushing into Europe, and has begun pressuring the Coptic Empire (brown). Lappland (brown) is de facto independent, although claimed by both the northern Thorist nation (green) and Rusland (light blue)(anyone know if that name would exist?). Gothland (light blue) has conquered Italia, although a special arrangement allowed the Pope to remain in Rome, and Leoland (dark blue) has taken Spania. Eerland has put some small settlements on New Eerland (OTL Iceland) and Mithrasland has crumbled in the west (barons of Lalaland) although further east they tend to stick together, being a LEETLE to close to the big events going on with the Coptic Empire and the Golden Horde. And a sailing ship, long lost in a storm has just returned with an amazing story. They were shipwrecked on a land far to the west, where a tribe of bronze-skinned natives helped them rebuild their ship. They called the discovery New Phrygia and the tales of the natives hint that the land may rival Europe in size.
Oh I quite agree on the name, it can really be anything, I just didn't have another.
The big thing is you keep the monk, I would have been sorry to see him go.
Plus, Genghis Khan was basicly his title, so whoever unites the mongols will be Genghis Khan.
A few on line suggestions
Have the monk killed by a fanatic Mongol shaman. The Golden Horde does not want to force people to convert to Buddhism but rather their Fearless Leader wants to be the Protector of the Dharma (which I would prefer to Conqueror) where the whole world is made safe for Buddhist monks.
I think Hermeticism is sort of what Mithraism would evolve into (with some moderate differences of course). Interest in astrology, arcane convoluted philosophy, alchemy (think Paracelsus), a Grail type holy warrior mythology. In OTL these were a countercurrent to Chrisitianity in its Catholic and most of its Protestant formulations (but people like Boehme are an exception). In evolving Mithraism they are the current not the countercurrent.
One consequence is that anything sounding Hermetic (eg. interest in alchemy or astrology) will be considered to be Mithraic contamination in the Christian sphere of influence (Coptics would be no better than the Roman Church) and viewed with much hostility and repression.
The nature of warfare. Mithraists might be less inclined to elevate the knight over the lowly infantryman to the degree that was done OTL. Instead they might emphasize "combined arms" where infantry and cavalry work in sync.
I think when they first get hold of gunpowder they would develop sappers and grenadiers before artillery and small arms.
I agree with Tomb, a Mithra based culture would probably be a bit less "knightly", because the religion almost emphaizes an earthly progression through the ranks, rather than some grand thing that occurs after a persons death.
There were evidently seven ranks of followers, ranging from an initiate (raven) to the highest (father), I forget the ones inbetween and I don't have the paper in front of me.
I think the ability to rise through the ranks would have profound impact on TTL's middle ages.
Probably no feudalism as it existed in OTL; something radically different and merit-based instead.
merit based yes, democratic? - I'm not so certain. Would this stifle innovation or would a Mithraic belief in order and progression allow for the development of the scientific method earlier, particularly since the middle ages would probably be less "dark"?
My hypothesis is that the Germanic warlords would still come to rule in a feudal system. Initially the Mithraists seeing a need for stability in times of trouble would accept succession by inheritance as OK as long as the system doesn't let ogres and twits come to power. If that happens they would organize the faithful and make the necessary changes. Sort of secret commisars if you will.
This system would not be perfect (this TL shouldn't get too idyllic) and some Earls of Twitdom will try to survive by becoming Initiated--which I suspect would usually work but not in the more severe instances.
The military itself would emphasize merit more than bloodlines. Though one imperfection is that mediocre officers who become high grade initiates (Runners of the Sun?) might prosper more than unitiated military geniuses.
This may not be completely bad either because advancement in Mithraic grade will probably be tied to ethical conduct and this will prevent tactically brilliant psychopaths from rising too high.
Maybe a merging of the German Tribal warlord / Mithraic Father roles. As you rise in rank in both spiritual and military through your successes, you gain followers who are attracted to your success.
True, as in any society, fathers will take care of sins, but no soldier will willingly sign on under a leader who is stupid, even the holiest chose martyrdom as a last resort [assuming some degree of sanity].
So what you get are elements in the society that are merit based and militant. In time you will have competing societal elements, including mercantile and governmental, which may be a little less merit based.
Here is 1500 Mithraic Europe:
Saxonland, Eerland, Thorland and Leoland have also planted a string of colonies on the east coast of New Phrygia and have begun exploring the southern continent (name, anyone?) as well. Thorland has reunited in a shakey union, and Slavland has both stopped the Golden Horde and thrown off its Germanic overlings. The Coptic Empire has broken up in a welter of schisms, counterschisms, heresies and counterheresies after the Golden Hordes turned their attention to China. Mithrasland's luck has run out, and in the Little Ice Age caused famines, plagues and complete governmental breakdown into squabbling warlords. Gothland has taken the Italic islands, so the only Catholic nations are the Eerish ones (the Pope has been driven to Eerland). Leoland has weathered several inconclusive wars with the Copts. The Golden Horde is still nominally unified, but is divided into several areas since the time of Khan's sons and there are growing internal strains. Outside poor former Mithrasland, nationalism is forming and there are hints of an embroyonic Industrial Revolution on the horizon. Science and technology are roughly comparable to early or middle 1700s OTL.
How does it sound?
Hints for 1800 status, anyone?
One constraint on 1800 Mithras...I pretty much figure that 1805 will correspond to about 1965 OTL and that there will be a thermonuclear exchange. I want to use this world in the IA setting, and that means it cannot be very far ahead of us, and I figure the 1965-1970 timeframe is good for a World War to knock us back a century or two, but not quite knock us out. Also, I do not have a clue what the late 22nd Century would be like.
A suggestion here that should be considered both here and in other TL's with nukes. The development of nuclear weapons can be different from OTL where the pattern was that the Manhattan Project feverishly pursued both U235 weapons and plutonium weapons, succeeded with both, soon abandoned the U235 bombs and then propelled by a combination of Cold War hysteria and Teller's Ego quickly developed thermonuclear weapons. It is very possible to have a an ATL where the U235 weapons could be developed well before the plutonium bombs and/or the followon to Hbomb takes much longer than OTL. The physics is simplest for the U235 bomb (and contrary to a common misconception does not require relativity), more complicated for plutonium weapons and still more complxx for fusion weapons (requiring quantum mechanics)
Separate names with a comma.