Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Planet of Hats, Aug 21, 2016.

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  1. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    My impression has long been (but not based on any systematic study) that what tanked al-Andalus,on a much greater time scale than a couple generations, was failure to consolidate into one strong realm. While Muslim principalities kept schisming for reasons very unclear to me, the Christians principalities consolidated and expanded. The last Muslim kingdom was not driven from the peninsula until Spain united firmly and forever after. So what I've always wondered is, what would it take for them to acquire a single state that doesn't split up every other generation? Then they might have a chance to hold back the Reconquista.

    So I read every al-Andalus TL with these questions in mind--why are they splitting up? What could persuade them to do the opposite and unite?

    I think you've helped me understand just a little bit some reasons they are prone to split. You mention recruiting more supporters from Morocco and apparently Morocco is a snake pit of tribal rivalries, so the leaders are importing civil war along with backers. And why do they need to import supporters anyway? Apparently those of noble enough background to claim high leadership are failing to reproduce or something?

    Anyone ever do an Andalusian Republic TL? Or a Muslim Republic in the pre-modern world of any kind?
     
  2. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Basically it's a foundational, systemic flaw based on this: The western emirates were all founded by a population from a long ways off, imposing itself on an immensely larger foundation with a different culture and religion. The Berber Revolt means al-Andalus is never getting reinforcements, nevermind the Abbasids knocking the rest of the Umayyad world out of the picture. A similar thing happens to the Kalbids of Sicily when the Fatimids move to Egypt and the Zirids are left in Tunisia, with no navy they can use to support the Kalbids. While the population does begin to slowly Islamize, you still end up with emirates which are forced to turn to an outside class of military help. You end up with a disgruntled, disenfranchised populace, a tiny ruling class of Arab-origin elites (and an even tinier group of that class with lineage from the Quraysh) divided by their tribal ties, and a professional military class with nothing in common with either group.

    Al-Andalus could thrive with a strong man in charge, as with leaders like Abd ar-Rahman III and even to some extent Almanzor. But the systemic issues are always there. OTL, when men less competent than Almanzor got their hands on power, you got the Fitna and the Caliphate fracturing into the taifas, which were ethnic - you had Arabo-Andalusian taifas, old Berber taifas, new Berber taifas like the Zirids and even Saqaliba taifas, but never any true muwalladun taifas, even though they were most of the actual population. ITTL, we'll explore whether we can find a way out of al-Andalus's systemic issues.
     
  3. mythmonster2 Well-Known Member

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    Always excited for an Andalusian timeline! I'm very interested in how young Hisham will rule.
     
  4. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    This has me wondering however: why didn't Al Andalus (and many medieval Muslim states) not recruit their military from Islamized natives?

    Why constantly import an army either from slaves or tribal elements from the frontier (Berbers, Turks, etc)? Plenty of the old Gothic nobility converted to Islam and still posses enough land and wealth to theoretically be able to fund their arms ala Western European warrior nobles.

    Al Andalus IIRC didn't even have urban militias.
     
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  5. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Part of it is that the muwalladun were in a constant state of low-level revolt. How do you keep them in line if you train them?

    About 80 years before the POD you had the big rebellion of Ibn Hafsun, who was muwallad and rallied a bunch to his banner before his followers mostly abandoned him when he converted to Christianity. While most muwalladun don't want to convert again at this point, they were still prone to revolting over things like taxation. Makes it hard to trust them with an army.

    Actually during the days before the fitna there was an attempt to create an army of muwalladun drawn from the city of Córdoba's burgher and merchant class. But they didn't have any time to train or get good equipment before the better-armed and better-trained Berbers being employed by rival factions slaughtered them. Then you wound up with all the political infighting ruining Córdoba's infrastructure, and since al-Andalus's economy basically was Córdoba, the economy tanked.
     
  6. Threadmarks: ACT I Part V: Ibn Abi Aamir's Gambit

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Excerpt: The End of Caliphal Andalus - Radah Alziri, Alcazar Publishing, 1420 (1999)


    (From Chapter 5: Hisham II)


    Understanding the systemic changes which began to take root in Hisham's time requires unpacking some of the foundational ills which plagued pre-modern al-Andalus in its nature as a society built on the forceful takeover of land from a population of a foreign religion.

    From its founding almost 300 years before Hisham, al-Andalus was a society ruled by a small number of Arabo-Andalusians, with Arabized Berbers serving as both allies and thorns in their side, with the bulk of the population initially being of non-Arab extraction. Paradoxically, while Berbers like Tariq ibn Ziyad carried most of the military burden in the conquest of al-Andalus from the Quti[1], the Umayyad governors of the region continued to treat them like second-class citizens even as they relied on them to keep in check a rebellious population unfond of Muslim rule.

    Inevitably, in 121[2], the Berbers revolted in al-Andalus and North Africa. The Iberian revolt was finally brought in line when an expedition of Syrians arrived, sparking off a period of infighting among the Andalusis as the Syrians clashed with the local governors. Order was eventually restored when a subsequent governor landed the remnants of the Syrian expedition in the form of junds - effectively military colonies.

    The landing of the junds proved to be a double-headed decision. The Syrian presence strengthened the hold of the Arabs on al-Andalus, especially in the southern regions along the Wadi al-Qabir[3] and along the coast of the great sea. However, it also created a class of landed tribes with their roots in geographic regions and genealogies outside of al-Andalus, with varying degrees of loyalty to the Emir, and later the Caliph. The jund system allowed these families enormous autonomy and an ability to operate without the sanction of the governor if they so chose. The decision that stabilized al-Andalus in the short run created a long-term destabilizing factor, because as much as there was always tension between the junds and the ruler, and even as subsequent rulers granted territory to new tribes, the rulers of al-Andalus nevertheless had to rely on these semi-autonomous tribes.

    Until the reign of Hisham II, trends in the Andalusian military scene had been towards revising that military model through the hiring of external armies - mercenaries and slave soldiers. The first Caliph of al-Andalus, Abd ar-Rahman III, in many ways started the trend of hiring in bands of Berbers and putting them on a monthly salary rather than giving them land. This policy was continued by Abd ar-Rahman's son and successor, al-Hakam II. Also popular were Saqaliba, slaves and freed slaves of eastern European origin. While there was some reluctance to utilize the Saqaliba as large armies given the trepidation of some towards massing slave soldiers in great numbers, Saqaliba like Ghalib al-Nasiri nevertheless distinguished themselves in al-Andalus as military leaders, and Berbers as regular troops.

    Had trends continued as they were, it would have been easy to envision a circumstance in which an aggressive leader committed fully to hiring a large army of personally loyal Berbers, draining the treasury and taxing the commons to pay for it. Of course the perils of this approach is obvious: A strong man may command the loyalty of the army, but what of when the strong man is no longer there?

    Particularly dangerous with Abd ar-Rahman and al-Hakam's reliance on hired Berbers was the place Berbers held in society. While much has been written of the comparative tolerance of the Islamic and Christian worlds of the era, the characterization of medieval al-Andaus as a beacon of egalitarianism is somewhat delusive and obscures the reality that the society was wracked by astonishingly regular small-scale revolts. In truth the polity rested on a distinct racial hierarchy, with Arabo-Andalusians at the top and Berbers occupying a role below the muwalladun[4], of which the Saqaliba were often considered a part. Berbers were often held in mistrust and treated poorly by society even at this point in Andalusi history, and many individuals who did cross from the Maghreb often found urban life in Córdoba or other cities difficult to reconcile with their more rigorist tendencies. The confluence of military strength with a societal grievance sets the conditions for a catastrophe.

    Hisham, however, benefited from the power struggle between his uncle and regent, al-Mughira, and the powerful master of the estates, Muhammad ibn Abi 'Amir. In particular what changed the trend in al-Andalus - and averted a massive professional army of Berbers from draining the treasury[5] - was that ibn Abi 'Amir was considered an ally of the Berbers. He had strong ties to many Berber tribes, to the point that he commanded the respect of more of them than al-Mughira.

    Among al-Mughira's key backers, meanwhile, were the Saqaliba and the old Arab families, including many of the jund tribes. It was on them whom Hisham and his regent thus came to rely. With al-Mughira's support lying where it did, the seeds were sown for the Saqaliba to begin taking on a greater role in Andalusian society. While still employing Berbers where possible, al-Mughira began to place Saqaliba in positions of greater authority, relying on them as his main commanders. He worked to strengthen Hisham's relationships with the junds as well, effectively strengthening that institution, at least for awhile.

    As before, Hisham and his regent continued to treat the Berbers by looking for those groups who could serve as strong allies while still acceding to Córdoba's wishes. Berber relations were always a fraught problem, though - and one which would become more worrying for the regent and the young Caliph as the Zenata chieftain, Ziri ibn Atiyya, launched his campaigns in the Maghreb in the 370s. Hisham and al-Mughira tacitly endorsed his conquests in the hopes of cultivating him as a client. But Ziri was an unpredictable man, and a Berber at a time when Berbers were held in some suspicion by the ruling caste in Córdoba. Al-Mughira apparently realized that Ziri could be either a strong ally, or a dangerous enemy.

    Largely, however, Hisham and al-Mughira kept the old power structure in place, though in Hisham's minority the young caliph struggled to make his power felt in the Northern Marches, where the Banu Tujibi held sway. The year 369 passed with little incident save the dispatching of another army to the north to clash with raiders out of Castile. Al-Mughira celebrated the minor raid with significant pomp, making a point of welcoming his troops - mostly junds and Saqaliba - with a ceremony in which he rewarded them for each Christian head delivered back to the palace in Córdoba.

    In 370[6], however, the peace along the northwestern border was shaken by civil war from outside of Andalus. Reaching his majority a couple of years prior, the Leonese king, Ramiro III, evidently feeling secure in both his peace treaty with the Caliph and the taming of Viking raids along the Galician coast, moved to increase the monarchical power at the expense of the nobility. This ill-advised move was predictably challenged by partisans of one of his cousins, who in late 370 was crowned King Bermudo II of Galicia in a ceremony in the sacred chapel of Santiago de Compostela.[7] The coronation in many ways dovetailed from decades of succession crises in northwestern Iberia, but immediately set the two cousins at each other's throats.

    With his position precarious relative to Ramiro's, Bermudo sought the aid of the semi-independent junds along the border, and indeed a number of Berbers nominally under the vassalage of the Caliph aided Bermudo's cause in the early months of the war. An incensed Ramiro, struggling both to wage war and to raise his new son, Ordono, appealed to the Caliph to aid him in holding on to his crown. Hisham II evidently declined to send troops, but it's known that he and al-Mughira traveled to Badajoz to meet with the local leaders there, arriving with a certain amount of ceremony.

    The meeting proved only modestly effectual; Berbers continued to appear sporadically among Bermudo's forces, allowing the Galician faction to make some headway in the conflict's early months before it ground down to a stalemate. As the year dragged on, Hisham, now close to the age of majority, issued a proclamation recognizing Ramiro as the King of Leon, but consented only to send a few light raids to harry Galicia's borders along with the regular seasonal runs against Pamplona and Castile.

    Evidently al-Mughira's hope was that the conflict between Leon and Galicia would exhaust the northwestern polities, and only them would Córdoba send her men north to restore order, ensuring that Leon would remain a weak, squabbling tributary. His vision seems to have favoured a divided, neutered Christian world with petty kinglets too weak and fractious to challenge the Caliphate. However, he was opposed by a faction at the court, among them the influential ibn Abi 'Amir, his perennial rival. Ibn Abi 'Amir favoured aggressively pressing the jihad against Galicia and Leon and is said to have even proposed pressing north to attack the Galician core in Santiago de Compostela. Al-Mughira brushed that strategy off, fearing it would galvanize the Leonese against Hisham's rule and shatter the prospects for a peaceful entente with what was then the largest Christian kingdom north of the Duero.

    This rejection rankled ibn Abi 'Amir, who - for all that he was in the minority at court - retained one key advantage: The favour of Subh, Hisham's mother. While discontent with al-Mughira's elevation to hajib over ibn Abi 'Amir, who was likely her lover, Subh had held her tongue and given the situation a chance for the first few years or so. But as war raged in Leon and the Maghreb, ibn Abi 'Amir turned to Subh.

    Histories from the time tell us that the seed of the Coup of 371 was sown as Hisham drew near to the age of 18, when Subh asked him to remove al-Mughira as hajib and replace him instead with ibn Abi 'Amir.


    [1] The Goths - namely the Visigoths.
    [2] AD 739 or so - about 230 years before the POD.
    [3] The River Guadalquivir.
    [4] Muslims of local descent, or of mixed Arab, Berber and Iberian ethnicity. They make up the majority in al-Andalus. This is distinct from the Mozarabs - that is, semi-Arabized Christians.
    [5] Effectively what happened OTL. Almanzor achieved enormous military success and expanded Córdoba's borders, but the price of it was that he over-taxed the junds and didn't bother raising levies off of them. You ended up with a societal divide: A professional army of rigorist Berber tribes held in check by Almanzor's money, and an unmilitarized commons being taxed to death to give Almanzor enough money to pay the Berbers. Guess how that turned out when people less competent than Almanzor came into power. Lookin' at you, Sanchuelo.
    [6] AD 981.
    [7] OTL this happened a year later, but the timetable gets bumped a bit because there's no real unifying factor of an aggressive Muslim world taking Zamora to prevent internal factions from jumping on an unsuspecting Ramiro.


     
  7. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Loving your timeline but can you please not wipe out the umayyads can they please rule andalusia. When i was reading about Umayyad rule over the proper islamic empire they were fairly liberal toward woman and because they are a caliphate with people recognise them as that. Just wondering would an alliance with fatimid eygpt help keep north africa peaceful and stop threat of the collapsing abbasid threatening them.
    Please don't wipe out the Umayyad let them survive.
     
  8. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Interestingly, you could make the case that the Umayyads were one of the few things holding the Caliphate of Córdoba together - the Caliph had immense personal power tied to the dynasty and the office. While most of Hisham's reign was the culmination of a lot of bad trends in the form of Almanzor's policies, what hurt al-Andalus the most was the loss of the Umayyad dynasty's personal legitimacy and the use of the Caliphal office as a pawn. There were quite a few plots to try and restore the Umayyads after Sanchuelo tried to usurp the Caliphate; the taifas in many ways all followed that line. Even years after Hisham had died - even after he would've turned 100 - individual taifas were still claiming he was alive and that they ruled in his name.

    A lot of common people loved the Umayyads. A thousand years is a long time for them to survive, but if nothing else, averting Almanzor gives them a fighting chance to, if nothing else, last longer.
     
  9. Threadmarks: ACT I Part VI: The Coup of 982

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Secret conspiracy is the devil's idea, through which he seeks to hurt those who believed. However, he cannot hurt them against God's will. In God the believers shall trust.

    - Quran 58:10


    ~


    Excerpt: The Rise and the Fall of the Mohammedan Caliphs of al-Andalus - Muhallab ibn Jalil al-Dani, AH 1056 (AD 1646)


    Now it came to pass, as the Christians of Leon and those of Galicia crossed their swords in battle to determine the supremacy of the crowns of the north-west, that the caliph Hisham al-Mu'ayyad neared an age where he was deemed prepared to set aside his regency, and to stand alone in the robes of the caliph. As the boy's adulthood drew near, ibn Abi Aamir, whose ambition buned within him as undying embers, appealed to his lover Sobha, the umm al-walad, to prevail upon her son to change the status quo, that the caliph should set aside his uncle al-Mughira from the role of hajib, and choose instead ibn Abi Aamir.

    Long had Sobha been enflamed at the setting aside of ibn Abi Aamir from the guidance of her son, for she loved ibn Abi Aamir deeply, and believed greatly in his wisdom and vigour. Thus it was in the year 371 that the umm al-walad approached her son and said unto him, "Surely you as the caliph and the defender of the faith, can see the righteousness of the pursuit of the jihad against the infidel! By God, will your uncle al-Mughira spurn the will of the almighty one? Will you not set him aside and choose instead ibn Abi Aamir, and in so doing bring greatness to your name?"

    But Hisham, wisened and given to scholarship by his years of education, spake unto her, saying, "By God, mother! While I hail the goodness of ibn Abi Aamir and the glory of his deeds, would you have me spurn the honour shown to me by my uncle, and the wisdom he has shown me these years? I could no sooner cast him aside than cast the very limbs aside from my body." For while once Hisham had admired ibn Abi Aamir, the years had placed divisions between them, and where Hisham had come to love the study of the ancient sciences, such was anathema to ibn Abi Aamir, and his ambitions had been called to his mind by al-Mughira, who had sought to guard Hisham against his foe's ambition.

    Informed by Sobha of this turning of events, and wroth in his rebuff, ibn Abi Aamir conspired with his allies, the Banu Birzal and his own sons, themselves still younger men, to replace al-Mughira in his office, and to impress upon the caliph their way of rule. For while most in the court supported al-Mughira, the turning of Hisham to adulthood raised the expectation that he would set aside his regency, and some wondered if al-Mughira would be set aside with such ease.

    To turn to this means of achieving the removal of al-Mughira was of no light undertaking for ibn Abi Aamir, for he was not of his nature a man given to duplicity. And yet he believed strongly that, for whatever his virtues might be, Hisham was a man in need of strong guidance, and not in his nature ruthless enough to administer the caliphate with a strong enough hand. Nor, he thought, was al-Mughira suited to guide him in what must needs be done, for he too was a judicious man, and in ibn Abi Aamir's eyes, too hesitant to visit the jihad upon the Christian, or to vigorously condemn the Mu'tazilite. So driven by his own ambition was he that he could not conceive of al-Mughira not being just as he was, and it could not have occurred to him that al-Mughira might not be scheming to set Hisham aside, for ibn Abi Aamir felt such was inevitable, and that acting to remove the regent was an act in defense of the caliph.

    It was therefore on the fourth day of Dhu'l-Qa'dah, 371[1] that with the purchase of the loyalty of two of the palace guards, a band of Berbers, all loyal to ibn Abi Aamir, slipped into the Madinat az-Zahra[2] in the dead of night, and with blades at the ready began to approach the resting-place of al-Mughira.

    And yet ibn Abi Aamir could not have known that as he schemed to betray al-Mughira to the blades of his allies, that so too were those in his confidence betraying him.

    Among the conspirators were the sons of ibn Abi Aamir, the eldest and the favourite Abd al-Malik, and the younger Abdallah, still not yet fully a man but full of ambition. It is said that ibn Abi Aamir favoured greatly Abd al-Malik, for whom he believed to be the wiser and the more capable of his blood, to the exclusion of Abdallah. But as is so often the case it was the younger son who coveted the inheritance of the father, and moreover he had dwelled on the Northern Marches for a time and encountered al-Mughira and Hisham during their visits to the halls of the Banu Tujibi, and been convinced there that he was wiser and better than his brother, and that a bright future lay in store for him.[3]

    Thus it was that even before the Berber men, the conspirators, entered the halls of Medina Azahara, the youth Abdallah ibn Muhammad had gone privily to the chambers of Hisham, with dire warning that the attack would come. The conspirators found al-Mughira's chambers unguarded, and burst inside to find the bedchamber empty, before a detachment of the saqaliba arrived and smote them with swords, and slew two of them, taking as prisoner two more.

    Anticipating the success of his conspirators in removing al-Mughira, ibn Abi Aamir being none the wiser yet of the failure of his scheme, prepared with his loyal men to take Hisham into custody, on the pretense of protecting the Caliph's person from the usurpation of the royal power. And yet as he mustered a small band of the Banu Birzal at his home, he found a band of the royal guard marching instead to detain him. Battle erupted at the home of ibn Abi Aamir, and many of the Berbers fell, while ibn Abi Aamir fled on the back of a horse, pursued hotly by the royal guard as he fled into the wilds. Among those captured was Abd al-Malik, the son of ibn Abi Aamir.

    As the dawn came, and ibn Abi Aamir fled the city, al-Mughira and Hisham returned from seclusion with the youthful Abdallah the son of ibn Abi Aamir among their retinue, and announced to the court the foiling of a coup. In the following days, Abd al-Malik the son of ibn Abi Aamir was put to death as a traitor, and his head displayed for all the city to behold, and the Banu Birzal were driven from the city and exiled from the sight of the caliph.

    Secure now in his position, al-Mughira acceded to the will of the old families. He soon proclaimed the end of the regency, and he stood aside to stand only as hajib, and relinquished all stewardship of the caliphal authority. Now a man, Hisham II assumed the full exercise of his power, affirming al-Mughira as his continued hajib, and filling the offices around him with his kin of the Banu Umayya, and others of the old families. The line of the Banu Umayya continued without interruption, the caliphal power no longer in danger of usurpation, and the name of al-Mughira is remembered even today, for the good Protector of the caliph guided him from an unready boy into a man who would face the challenges of the years ahead with, if not strength, then at least competence.

    His name tarnished at the court by his failure, and by the betrayal of his plot by his own blood, ibn Abi Aamir fled north, and crossed the Douro to seek refuge in the court of his old nemesis, Garcia Fernandez the Count of Castile. With word brought back to Córdoba that ibn Abi Aamir dwelled in seclusion at the Count's court, Hisham sent word to the Castilian demanding that the conspirator be returned to Córdoba to face justice. The letter met with no answer, and ibn Abi Aamir dwelled, plotting his revenge.[4]



    [1] May 1, 982.
    [2] Medina Azahara, the caliphal palace just outside Córdoba.
    [3] We're not sure of the exact ages of Almanzor's kids but OTL, Abdallah stayed with the Tujibids and was involved in an abortive plot a few years after Almanzor took power. OTL he was caught and died for his trouble, and Abd al-Malik went on to become al-Muzaffar, Almanzor's successor as hajib. Just based on math, Abdallah is likely under 18 here - guesstimating around 16 or 17 based on the fact that Almanzor is 44 in 982 - but still with the spurned-little-brother syndrome he carried with him OTL. Also, on the butterflies front: Sanchuelo obviously is never born, much to the relief of all.
    [4] Six years after the POD, we've thus far averted Almanzor. Still alive, though.


     
  10. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

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    This is a really fantastic TL you have been working on. I am sorry to say I don't know too much about Andalus, or Spanish, history so I can't really comment too closely. I hope you continue the story and look forward to the next installment.
     
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  11. 123456789blaaa Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Could PoD's around these be the basis for more Islamic Spain TLs?
     
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  12. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Definitely, though anything after Sanchuelo in 1008-09 makes the taifas basically inevitable. You could potentially still save Muslim Spain with a successful taifa of some sort, likely Berber given that Almanzor basically gutted the native and Saqaliba power bases, but you'd probably get a smaller, weaker al-Andalus, which would just open the door to the problem the taifas faced OTL: Not enough guys, meaning they'll need the Almoravids. Even with the Almoravids, there's still faint hope, but it's much harder, Córdoba is basically devastated in favour of Seville, and the "feel" of it is a lot different because of the Almoravids' nature as a much more rigorist force with their home base in Marrakech. At that point it's more of a Morocco wank than an al-Andalus wank, and your al-Andalus becomes a province in a Berber-dominated Maghreb Empire.

    A successful Ibn Hafsun might be interesting, though - a good POD might be Ibn Hafsun not converting to Christianity. His rebellion hung around for a couple of decades even with the conversion; he was a serious, serious threat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  13. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Adding on to soverhin point surely developing a military that isn't based on mercenaries should be a priority with a more feudalist style. The Umayyad tended to be liberal compared to the abbasid so surely allowing Christians within the military and doing that would probably stablise andalusia military wise due to the new manpower. Mughals and ottomans all developed their own systems in non muslim areas.
     
  14. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for double posting but what are the implications to the emirate of sicily with a survivng umayyad, will they go to them for help?
     
  15. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Stay tuned.

    The nature of change is a funny thing because often it doesn't emerge until its hand has been forced by circumstance. Certainly it looks like the relationship between Hisham/al-Mughira and Ziri ibn Atiyya won't be that great, not to mention the rest of the Berbers viewing the two skeptically, so where do they go for their manpower needs? Certainly leaning on the Saqaliba may lead to a model in which more Muladies get involved, but any surviving al-Andalus will have to move away from a model in which you have a militarized foreign elite beholden only to money combined with a disempowered populace.

    Re. Kalbid Sicily: The Kalbids are Shia and the Umayyads are Sunni; there wasn't a ton of helping-out between them even OTL. Both are in precarious positions. That said, the Umayyads might be the only Muslims in the immediate vicinity with an actual navy now that the Fatimids have moved - certainly Denia had a lot of ships during the taifa period, and OTL the Umayyads actually colonized a little corner of Provence for a short time some years before the POD. Can Muslim Sicily be saved? It's much more challenging to do than saving al-Andalus because the Pope and the Basileus are literally right there, but time will tell. If nothing else, we're starting far enough back that we've butterflied away the Normans.
     
  16. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't it sunni? The leaders were shia but the majority muslim pop i think were sunni. I think malta can easily be saved rest of sicily might be a bit harder but a navy from the umayyad could hold back the normans. The byzantine honestly have all the reason to be friend the umayyad, like the karling abbasid alliance against the umayyad byzantine and andalusia are natural allies and honestly a alliance between them will be easy to make compared to franks and abbasid. Byzantine show of good faith maybe, sicily was split into three emirs the umayyad just need to support one with resources to conquer the rest. The kalbids are independent in all but name.
     
  17. Zireael Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Will Hisham II keep a male harem as he did IOTL?
    Also tis a pity Sanchuelo won't be showing up ITTL.
     
  18. Threadmarks: ACT I Part VII: Hisham's Majority

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    Joined:
    May 10, 2016
    Location:
    Land of Rust and Snow
    "What happened to ibn Abi Aamir? And why is Hisham so important if he's supposed to be just an average caliph?"

    At the head of the classroom, Dr. Hasan Mirza smiled behind the short crop of his beard, blue eyes finding the young student tucked away in the back of the crescent-shaped rows of seats. He deftly flicked the green indicator of his lumicator[1] towards the lit screen behind him, towards the list of text there. "Very well," the genial historian said with a nod. "A fair question.

    "We can ascribe Hisham's importance to some of the events which took place in his lifetime," Dr. Mirza explained. "True, there were greater caliphs - we've just finished discussing Abd ar-Rahman the Third, for instance. But you don't have to be a paragon of piety or even virtue to be of great importance to history. And in Hisham's life, many things happened which would set the stage for what would happen after he was gone."

    "Like al-Muntasir?" the student asked.

    Mirza just smiled. Reaching for the podium to his left, he picked up the object resting there - a hardbacked tome with writing embossed across its cover and spine. He held it up, evoking the predictable low groans from the assembled students as the thickness of it became apparent to them.

    The professor merely smiled that pleasant smile. "Don't worry. This one's not as dry as some of the others. But as we tell the story of Hisham and al-Muntasir, we're going to be hearing a lot from the man who wrote this book - and his name was Joseph."


    ~


    Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)*

    Note from Dr. Mirza: Joseph ibn Abram, a Jewish historian and merchant from the city of Qadis, lived from AH 377 to 452 - the years 987 to 1060 in the Christian reckoning - and traveled regularly to Córdoba, including to the Caliphal court. His Palm of the West represents one of the most complete preserved histories of medieval Andalus. He is widely considered the best primary source on the reign of Caliph Hisham II and events subsequent to his life.


    Chapter 2
    The Reign and Manhood of Hisham II al-Mu'ayyad
    And the Travails of a Peaceful Caliph


    At the age of eighteen, Hisham II al-Mu'ayyad fully assumed the caliphal power, and his regent and uncle al-Mughira the hajib stepped aside from his regency, to leave his nephew fully grasping the reins of al-Andalus.

    To further your understanding of the circumstances of Hisham's reign, presumptuous though it may be to assume that this tome may survive long past its penning, one must digress here to a brief elucidation of the surrounds of the Andalus, and of the states of the nations upon whose borders Hisham's realm sprawled. Of course these circumstances shall change greatly as our history plays onwards, for while the reign of al-Mu'ayyad was in many ways a time of prosperity for the Córdoban polity, compared to the calamities to come, the Christian and the Berber experienced many an upheaval, as is often their tendency in this age.

    The dawn of Hisham II's adulthood saw the limits of the caliphal power stretch into an area vaguely bounded in the north by the river called the Douro, though in fact the border was no firm border, and much of this area was thinly-peopled, and subject often to raids by both the Muslim and the Christian.

    To the north of this border, in the year 371,[2] the greatest of the kingdoms was that called Léon. As of this year it was ruled by Ramiro III, son of the ill-fated Sancho the Fat, who had been poisoned and passed the crown to his child in his mere infancy. Now Ramiro was a man of perhaps twenty and one years, who held an agreement of peace with Hisham II, though it was in effect an agreement of submission, for Ramiro's kingdom lacked the power to challenge the caliphal authority. And yet in his ambition he sought to institute the absolute power for himself, and in so doing provoked the challenge of his cousin Bermudo II, who crowned himself the King of Galicia, in the northwestern reaches of the land. It is with the two cousins at war with themselves that Hisham II became a man.

    To the easternmost reach of Léon lay another land nominally subject to the crown of Ramiro, that being the County called Castile. At this time the land was ruled by a man in his fortieth decade, named Garcia son of Fernan, and he acknowledged Ramiro as his suzerain although in truth he ruled in effect as a sovereign with enormous autonomy. Perhaps ten and two years he had reigned at the time Hisham rose to his throne. As Ramiro and Bermudo warred in the west, Garcia Fernandez the old rival of many in the Córdoban court sought to increase his demesne and power, and he sent men regularly against the borders to test the Caliphal power, and to seek for himself greater land and glory.

    Easternmore still lay a kingdom in its own right, that of Pamplona, a mountain redoubt of a sort. Perhaps six years before the death of al-Hakam II al-Mustansir was the land of Pamplona ruled by King Sancho II Abarca the son of Garcia, a man who had seen some strife in his time, for in 364[3] he was seized in battle and taken prisoner at the battle of Estercuel, where the warrior al-Tuyibi routed the forces of himself and the Castilian as well as the Vigueran, of whom we shall speak shortly. Though ransomed back to his kingdom and continuing to send raiders, Sancho, understanding that by force of arms he could not defeat the Muslim, watched Hisham's emergence into manhood in the hopes of achieving an entente.

    The youngest of the crowns at this time was that of Viguera,[4] that crown created some six years before the death of al-Hakam II by the decree of Garcia father of Sancho II of Pamplona, and granted to Ramiro the eldest son of his second marriage as he split his realm among his children. The land they held lay somewhat southerly of Pamplona herself, and once was the land held by the tribe of the Banu Qasi. At this time the crown was newly held by Sancho the eldest son of the founding king Ramiro, and the kingdom remained in close kinship with Pamplona, though this was not always to be so.

    Finally in the east, in the lands of the Marches of Catalunya where the Pyrenees flow to the Mediterranean rim, lay the Counties of the Spanish March. The counts of this rich land owed allegiance in name to the King of the Western Franks, at the time Lothair of the bloodline of Charles the Great, though in truth the distance between the Frankish throne and the March was broad, and the people of Catalunya were greatly independent in their ways. At this time the most powerful of the landowners here was Borrell II of the County called Barcelona, a man known for his patronage of the arts, and well-respected, for though he was no great warrior, he had travelled now and then to the lands of al-Andalus even with churchmen of some station to study the sciences known to the Muslims but strange to the Christian.

    We have thus delineated the state of things among the Christian polities, and turn thus to the south of al-Andalus, to the land called the Maghreb, where the remnants of the descendants of Idriss[5] clung to what scant power they had even as the ever-fractious Berbers battled amongst themselves. Strongest at this point was the rising power that was Ziri ibn Atiyya, the king of the Zenata tribe, who by now had begun to gain significant territory unto himself. While Hisham and his advisor al-Mughira sought to curry the favour of Ziri, the Berber chieftain viewed them with something of a skeptical eye, though he did not oppose them.

    Eastward still of them lay the lands of the Sanhaja Berbers, and further east the horn of Ifriqiya, where lay the city of Tunis. That city once being the seat of the strong power, the ad-Dawlah al-Fatimiyyah[6], it was handed to another tribe when the Shia caliph, styled in short al-Mu'izz, chose to move his seat instead to the metropolis of Cairo, and left Tunis instead in the hands of Buluqqin ibn Ziri, also a Shia, of the Sanhaja Berbers. The Zirid clan thus established, and seeking to entrench themselves within Ifriqiya, ibn Ziri sought to place the western lands near Tunis under his firm control. Impairing him in his actions was the loss of the treasury of the ad-Dawlah al-Fatimiyyah, which had been taken to Egypt with the caliphal seat. To leap across the channel of the Mediterranean lies, further, the island called Sicily by the Christian, now that lonely emirate of the descendants of al-Hasan al-Kalbi, though the departure of the navy of the Shia caliph placed this land in some jeopardy, seated as it was off the "toe" of lands shared by the Romans[7] and some other duchies.

    Thus is the world into which Hisham II emerged as a man at the end of his regency, with his most immediate foreign concerns the civil war in Léon, and the flight of the conspirator Muhammad ibn Abi Aamir into the arms of Garcia Fernandez the Count of Castile. And yet the fist visitor was in fact Sancho II of Pamplona, whose raiding parties had been routed fully by the caliphal forces, culminating the year prior in their defeat at Riaza in the shadow of Medinaceli, once the seat of Ghalib al-Nasiri.

    Acknowledging that he could not crush the Muslim power, Sancho traveled to Córdoba with some small retinue, and there presented himself in audience to Hisham, and made some submission to him, that the caliph should consent to a pact of peace with him. Hisham received him in the full regalia, and welcomed the overtures of the Pamplonan. As demonstration to the court of his power over Sancho's kingdom, he took as concubine his daughter Urraca[8], and agreed that there should be peace provided the northern monarch should continue to submit to the caliph, and that should his submission cease, that the jihad should be visited upon the infidel in earnest.

    It was late that year, that Asma the first bride of Hisham came to flower with child, and soon the next year bore the young caliph a boy-child. This dark-haired boy pleased the young Hisham, then perhaps 19, who named the child Abd ar-Rahman in honour of his grandfather. The line of the caliphs was thus ensured for the moment, and an heir at the ready for the young man.[9]



    [1] A laser pointer.
    [2] 982.
    [3] 975.
    [4] OTL, the Kingdom of Viguera was a footnote in history and gone within 50 to 60 years of its creation. How long does it last ITTL? Don't touch that dial.
    [5] The Idrisids.
    [6] The Fatimid Caliphate.
    [7] The Eastern Roman Empire, which holds Calabria and Apulia around this time. There is a sporadic Muslim presence in Reggio but most of the area owes its allegiance to the Basileus.
    [8] OTL, Urraca was given to Almanzor around 981 - a year earlier than here. The union resulted in Sanchuelo, who would go on to attempt to force Hisham to name him his successor. If Almanzor damaged the Caliphate of Córdoba irrevocably, Sanchuelo is the man who took the wrecking ball to it for good.
    [9] Re. Zireael: Hisham's love of men has been noted previously. He'll go on to have both a male and a female harem.


     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
    Rath, circular, EnvarKadri and 11 others like this.
  19. Zireael Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Is Urraca going to assume an Arabic name? According to Wikipedia, Urraca means 'magpie', but I can't find a feminine Arabic name that would mean any sort of a bird.
     
    circular and EquatorJewel like this.
  20. St. Just STOP BUMPING STOP BUMPING STOP BUMPING THREADS

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    The DMV
    Excellent TL thus far!
     
    haider najib likes this.
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