Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

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.
She was given one OTL - I think Almanzor named her Abda, but don't quote me on it. Odds are she'll be given one here too. It probably won't be the same as OTL. Histories of the time dwell very little on women, sadly, so we know little about her.
ACT I Part VIII: Civil War in Leon
Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)*

Taking into his harem the daughter of Sancho II the Pamplonan monarch, Hisham bestowed upon her the name of Buhayr, and grew fond of her to some degree.

It was also about this time, that Hisham began to take for himself the first members of a harem of young men, favouring to an extent men of Sclavonian countenance, for though many of the Saqaliba of the palace were eunuchs, the unmanning was hardly a constant for their kind. (Here it must be admitted the oft-spoken-of fondness of the men of the Banu Umayya for blondes, as befit their own countenance, for Hisham himself was fair-haired and blue-eyed as had been his father and his father's father, and their preferences tracked much the same way, to the degree that the masculine harem of Hisham would come to be almost exclusively of blonde men.)[1]

Now as it happened, in the north the conflict between the two cousins, Ramiro III of Leon and Bermudo II the so-crowned King of Galicia, had raged for the better part of a year, and further on still, until again Ramiro, in sensing the desperation of his circumstance, once more appealed to the caliph to intervene, and mediate in the dispute. After consulting over the letter of Ramiro with al-Mughira the hajib, Hisham ultimately issued another declaration recognizing Ramiro as the rightful King of Leon, and urging Bermudo to come to terms with him.

In truth the goal of Hisham and al-Mughira was to divide Leon, and render it as a series of shattered fragments, each in and of itself too weak to challenge the power of Islam in Andalusia. Only in 374[2] did the issue begin to break, as the forces of Galicia neared the city of Leon, when Ramiro fled his kingdom and rode to Córdoba, throwing himself upon the mercy of Hisham and pleading for his protection.

Showing some mercy to the broken king, Hisham finally consented to send al-Mughira northward, drawing upon the junds to draft a force sufficient to rout the Galician. The forces of the hajib marched past the Douro, and turned north to Leon, where word came of the armies of Bermudo encamped outside Astorga, soon to march upon Leon. With haste al-Mughira marshaled his men northward.

Now as the Galician forces broke camp, they encountered the army of al-Mughira near the stream called Obrigo. Cunningly did al-Mughira move to cut off Bermudo's forces on the opposite side of the stream, and met them with a storm of arrows, and the Christians were slow to answer despite their fatalities, for the stream lay between the opposing armies. When finally the forces of Bermudo mustered to cross the Obrigo they had suffered some attrition, and the horsemen of al-Andalus proved the superior to Bermudo's forces, already exhausted and demoralized from the hard fighting, and unable to match a fresh army with an advantage of terrain. Thus it was that the Battle of the Obrigo proved a victory for the caliphal forces, and the army of Galicia began its retreat, as al-Mughira dispatched after them some forces to break the garrison of Astorga.

As the summertime wound to cooler months, and Bermudo no doubt sensing the precariousness of his position with the caliph prepared to support the independence of Leon, the Galician monarch agreed to come to Córdoba and submit to the mediation of Hisham. The young caliph ushered the Christian monarchs together, and in recognition of the zeal of Bermudo's support, received from Ramiro the agreement to acknowledge Bermudo as sovereign, and from Bermudo the agreement to acknowledge Ramiro's kingship as true. To both kings he extended the peace agreement al-Hakam had generously offered their forebears, with the caveat that any action against the caliphal power would be met with the end of the peace, and the punishment of the offender by force of arms.

Thus it was on the twentieth day of Jamada al'Ula of 374[3] that Ramiro and Bermudo rode home in submission to the caliph, one as King of Leon and the other as King of Galicia, the realm split between them. The strong power of the north had been divided unto itself, and Leon itself still grappled with the de facto independence of Garcia Fernandez the Castilian.

As the cooler months approached, further news trickled into Cordoba, this time from the north. Messengers brought word of the death of Lothair, the King of the Western Franks, and the passage of the throne to his son, the fifth to bear the name of Louis.[4] Now the new king was a young man, perhaps of eighteen years, and was reputed to live a debauched and dissolate lifestyle even in his tender years, much to the consternation of his bride Adelaide-Blanche, a woman who had passed her fortieth year some years prior, and who was said to hold the king in the greatest contempt. In the Marches of Catalunya the counts there were slow to acknowledge the young king.

Now not all was a matter of war at the Madinat az-Zahra, for Hisham by his nature was a peaceful man given to scholarship and pursuits of the art. He took to lavishing some patronage upon poets and painters, and he attracted to his court artisans of all stripes, even among them the Jew and the Christian, those who lived in al-Andalus as dhimmi. Among those invited were two Jewish brothers, Jacob ibn Jau and his brother Joseph, who approached Hisham the year after the battles in Leon, and presented the caliph and the hajib with garments of precious silks, and flags woven with Arabic writings, the likes of which had never before been beheld at the court. Upon receipt of the precious weavings, Hisham is said to have cried out, "By God! Such sublime skill could only be a divine gift!" From that day onward was Jacob ensconced at court as the master of the royal wardrobe, and later to become one of the great liaisons of Hisham to the community of the Jews.[5]

As the year turned, word came north of a break in the campaigning of the Zirids of Ifriqiya to place more of the Maghreb under their control, with the death of the governor Buluqqin ibn Ziri, the rule passing then to his son al-Mansur. Warfare continued between the Zirids and the Berbers supported by the caliph in the area, with the Shia governor slowly realizing he was unable to press his interests towards Fes or Sijilmasa. These men of the Sanhaja Berber tribe clashed often with the Zenata tribe of Ziri ibn Atiya, who had by now captured Fes and moved onwards to the coast. The men of the caliph watched all this from the strongholds of Ceuta and Tangier, with some worry, for despite positive overtures between the caliph and the Berber, there was some doubt in the reliability of Ziri, who seemed to hold little respect for Hisham, or for al-Mughira.

Thus it was that the early years of Hisham's reign saw the Saqaliba begin to be purchased in greater numbers than before, for the unreliable nature of the Zenata and the association of the Banu Birzal with ibn Abi Aamir provided some worry about continuing to hire them in as mercenaries.

Now the typical Saqlab soldier was purchased as a youngster, as a mere child imported from the lands far to the east, some from the lands on the fringe of the Romans and many from the cold lands of the pagans even further beyond. Brought into the court as youths, they were educated in the ways of Islam, and of battle, and trained from childhood as warriors. Surely there were never many of them, for it is prudent not to place too many slaves together with weapons. It must however be said that the slavery of the warrior Saqaliba was of a different sort than those purchased as eunuchs at the palace, for while an ordinary slave would never be given the consent to bear a weapon or march into battle, so were the Saqaliba warriors permitted to do so. These men would gradually grow in prominence in years subsequent, some eventually to be renowned to a degree for their prowess and nobility.[6]

[1] Believe it or not, this is historical - the Umayyads apparently really liked blondes.
[2] 984.
[3] October 19, 984.
[4] OTL, Lothair died suddenly in 986. Here he dies somewhat earlier thanks to butterflies, while Louis V is still married to a 40-year-old Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou, who hates him.
[5] Jacob ibn Jau was a real guy and his story here is much the same as it was with Almanzor, save that Hisham gives him a "make my clothes" role while Almanzor used him to collect taxes and appoint rabbis and judges in al-Andalus's jewish community.
[6] Incidentally, here's another change from OTL: Where Almanzor relied on Berbers to the exclusion of all else, here Hisham and al-Mughira favour the Saqaliba, who will come to fill a societal role in al-Andalus analogous to the Mamluks, in combination with a regular army drawn from the jund system. Slowly we're seeing the seeds sown for an al-Andalus which can eventually draw a native-strength military, while also adding an elite military class with more in common with regular Andalusis than the Berbers had (most Berbers brought in were tribal warriors who didn't speak Andalusian Arabic and didn't like city life).

984: The Battle of the Obrigo. As the Caliphate of Córdoba intervenes in the Leonese civil war on King Ramiro III's behalf, an army led by hajib al-Mughira defeats a Galician host by forcing them to charge into the Muslim lines across a stream.
984: Caliph Hisham II brokers peace between Ramiro III of Leon and Bermudo II of Galicia, acknowledging the claims of both as valid. Galicia becomes independent of Leon.
984: Lothair, King of West Francia, dies suddenly. His son Louis V becomes King of West Francia.
985: In Mahdia, Buluqqin ibn Ziri is succeeded by hs son al-Mansur, who continues to war intermittently with the Berbers.
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Loving the self strengthening of andalusia do you know anything of the relationship between the fatimids and umayyads. The umayyad were incredibly liberal towards woman, so could we see umayyad daughters and sisters become important, maybe a female muslim monarch its happened before. Succession events the daughters or sisters have always played an important part in which brother gains the thrown because domesticly and court wise they had as much power as the actual monarch, and were often trusted more than male members of the family. Dont you dare wipe out the umayyad!
ACT I Part IX: Ziri ibn Atiya
Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)*

Now the days of Hisham largely being peaceful ones, with the monarchs of Leon and Galicia and that of Pamplona given to acknowledgment of the supremacy of the caliph in the region, the periodic missions to the north came to be directed mainly against the Castilian, Garcia Fernandez, and against the Vigueran and occasionally the Frank, small though this kingdom was. Perhaps once per summer did the men of Córdoba ride into the mountainous north to cross their blades with the Christian, always returning having issued some small chastening upon them, though in truth these raids achieved little save to test the mettle of those Christians who did not acknowledge the caliph's dominance. For the most part the angers of the Christians were directed against one another. Despite the guarantee of peace, the relations between Ramiro of Leon and Bermudo of Galicia were fraught and most bitter, and in the northeast, the Vigueran Sancho looked with some disfavour upon the submission of his counterpart in Pamplona, and chafed at the restriction of peace, submissive though his tiny kingdom was to the larger.

Yet it was in the north of Africa, there that the greatest change lay. As quiet years passed in Córdoba, such was not so in the Maghreb, where some events occurred which stirred the attentions of the caliph. So it was in the year 375[1] that one of the Idrisites, one al-Hasan ibn Kanun, had taken possession of the city of al-Basra, and there swore his allegiance to the caliph of the followers of Ali.[2] Anxious to see the treacherous Idrisite removed from the land, Hisham did send entreaty to the chief of the Zenata, Ziri ibn Atiya, and sought to test his willingness to remove this obstacle.

Himself in the midst of his conquests, Ziri sent word to Hisham cautiously, and agreed to dispatch some tribes to meet up with an army of Córdoba, this under a siqlabi commander named Wadih, a young man but of some skill. These armies met in the north along the coast and turned east to march to al-Basrah, and encircled it, and there forced the submission of the Idrisite, and defeated his followers and took many into their custody. And yet it was that the siqlabi and the Berber looked at each other askance, and marched at some distance from each other, for it was said among some of the Berbers that Hisham was a young and decadent man, and that his ways were unlike theirs.

Defeated in spite of these divisions in the ranks of the besiegers, ibn Kanun was taken in chains to Córdoba, and presented to Hisham. The young caliph, then gave to the Idrisite his mercy, and retired him to an estate on the outskirts of the city, there to live out his days in peace, but never to leave those grounds or scheme against the caliphal authority, lest he be put to death.

The battle had sown in Hisham and al-Mughira the sense that Ziri could be a useful force for them, though a mercurial one, given to mistrust of the caliphal authority. Thus it was that the pair watched closely as the years passed, until in 377[3] Ziri had bested the rebellious men among the Zenata in the name of his own tribe, the Meghrawa, and established for himself a court at the city of Fes.

This consolidation of the Meghrawa over the Maghreb stymied in some part the ambitions of the ruler of Ifriqiya named al-Mansur ibn Buluqqin, himself of the Sanhaja tribe, the old enemies of the Zenata. Though his men and the forces loyal to ibn Atiyya had crossed blades often, it had become apparent to the Ifriqiyan that he could not press his efforts westwards to claim Fes or Sijilmassa, and his limit instead was to duel with some of the restive remnants of the Kutama.[4] The region between al-Mansur's seat at Kairouan and the dominions of the Zenata was placed by al-Mansur under the governance of Hammad his brother.

Meanwhile, in Córdoba, Hisham sent word to Fes, and sought audience with Ziri ibn Atiya, inviting the Berber to the great city. In the following year did Ziri agree to the meeting, and arrived in Córdoba with significant pomp. It is said that Ziri rode into the city carried by 500 slaves, in a column of 500 of the fleetest horses, with one thousand shield-bearers, and twenty and five elephants bedecked in fine woolen cloth and silks, as well as rhinoceroses and tigers bedecked in similar, but that he styled himself emir, brought only a token gift for Hisham, and merely put on airs to demonstrate that he was no weak servant, but a man of strength in his own right, with great conquests to his name. While the demonstration left the burgers of Córdoba in some awe, and he was received with courtesy and great honour and ceremony by Hisham, who called him friend and sanctioned him as the lord of the Maghreb, rather more frosty was his rapport with the hijab, al-Mughira, at whom he could scarcely deign to glance without a sneer.

When Ziri ultimately returned home, al-Mughira prevailed upon Hisham, and advised him that the Maghrawa chief could be a valuable ally, but one with his own ambitions, which would not always be those of the Banu Umayya. Furthermore, the ostentatious display of Ziri, placing himself on so great a pedestal even before the caliph, had rankled al-Mughira. Thus Hisham, while hailing Ziri as the ruler of the Maghreb, and supporting him in his endeavours, kept closer in his confidence the Saqaliba, and continued to train some number of them as soldiers, to carry out his will loyally.[5]

In the ensuing years, Ziri and his followers bent their will upon the lords of Ifriqiya in the central Maghreb, with the intent of seizing that land for their own. This warring ensured that the lands of Córdoba itself were not infringed upon by the servants of the Fatimite, and that things were mostly secure.

Hisham's reign is spoken of as a time of poetry and art, though there were some interruptions to the period of serenity, as is the nature of these things. About two years subsequent to the visit of Ziri, some of the Berbers settled along the frontier, wroth at the perception that they were falling out of favour at the court, rose up in arms to demand satisfaction, and were quelled with some fuss by forces raised from Córdoba.[6]

[1] AD 985
[2] The Fatimids.
[3] 987.
[4] As opposed to those who left for Egypt as the Fatimids' military muscle.
[5] Ziri was a problem for Almanzor, too - eventually he backed out on his fealty to Almanzor and recognized the by-then-secluded Hisham, prompting Almanzor to send troops and smack him around. Here the relationship is a bit different: Ziri is unquestionably the big fish in the Maghreb, while al-Mughira views him as a useful but dangerous tool who should be handled with care.
[6] We'll likely be taking it a few more years at a time at this point until we get to EVENTFUL THINGS. Hisham's reign has so far been a state of quiet transition; the big foundational events begin to set in later in his life, as his kids begin to come into the world. Averting Almanzor has, at least, bought al-Andalus a few more decades of relative calm.

985: Córdoban forces reduce al-Basra in the Maghreb and capture the rebellious Idrisid, ibn Kanun. He is shown mercy by Caliph Hisham II and sent to live out his days under house arrest.
987: Ziri ibn Atiya, ruler of the Maghrawa tribal confederacy, establishes his court at Fes. The Maghrawa largely embroil themselves in a series of skirmishes with the Zirids of Tunisia and Algeria, not really achieving much on either side.
988: Ziri ibn Atiya visits Córdoba. He styles himself an emir and attempts to impress Caliph Hisham II with a show of power and wealth, mostly serving to remind Hisham's hajib that Ziri is a potentially dangerous ally. Hisham nevertheless affirms Ziri's rule of the Maghreb with his sanction.
Can you give me some context how big were armies during this period?
It's hard to say, but one source - writing later on - suggests one of Almanzor's campaigns, the sacking of Leon, involved around 60,000 men, including 12,000 Berbers on horseback, 5,000 Andalusians and 40,000 infantry, plus an untold number of volunteers who jumped on board because Almanzor was so good at inciting people to join in on waging the jihad against the northern kingdoms. Those numbers are probably somewhat exaggerated but you can see how few Andalusians there are.

The same source also suggests Almanzor once conducted a review of six hundred thousand men, but that's almost certainly exaggerated given Almanzor's tendencies towards shameless self-promotion.
It's hard to say, but one source - writing later on - suggests one of Almanzor's campaigns, the sacking of Leon, involved around 60,000 men, including 12,000 Berbers on horseback, 5,000 Andalusians and 40,000 infantry, plus an untold number of volunteers who jumped on board because Almanzor was so good at inciting people to join in on waging the jihad against the northern kingdoms. Those numbers are probably somewhat exaggerated but you can see how few Andalusians there are.

The same source also suggests Almanzor once conducted a review of six hundred thousand men, but that's almost certainly exaggerated given Almanzor's tendencies towards shameless self-promotion.
Yeah that does sound exaggerated 600,000 should have saved muslim spain. Yeah i know when muslims first invaded it was with a few thousands, so probably the 10s of thousands now in armies, What is your personal opinion? You said 5000 andalusians where they horse or foot and what made them unique, furthermore what made up the 40,000 infintry (Christians andalusians, berbers etc) in your tl how much of the andalusian military is now Saqalibas? Sorry for asking so many questions, muslim armies are not very well organised or structured compared to Christian armies which are easy to understand because of it. There few sources that tell us make ups of muslim armies and whats unique about certain forces e.g. yemani horsemen and andalusians while we know what made english longbow and itailan pike special. Sorry for the tangent.
ACT I Part X: Hisham the Builder
Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)*

Now in his day, Hisham's father, the great al-Hakam al-Mustansir, had bought for the land the peace that his predecessor Abd ar-Rahman al-Nasir had strived mightily for, and in this respect Hisham sought to continue that peace and prosperity. Aside from the the unrest among the Berbers and the ever-present grumblings of the muwalladun and the dhimmi, and the campaign against the Castilian menace in the north, Hisham's deeds were of peace and development. He widened roads to encourage trade and built marketplaces and ports across the Caliphate, and far ranged the trading ships of al-Andalus in those days, and they brought back with them rich silks, and spices, and tomes of knowledge.

Among the greatest works of Hisham was the establishment of a great madrasah within Cordoba, to be dedicated to the study of the ancient sciences, and the works such as those collected by his father. To this great school flocked some of the wisest minds in the world at the time, not only the Muslim thinkers but also the Christian, and the Jew, and some even from beyond the Caliphate's borders. There did the wise men pore over the ancient texts, and sought to divine from them great wisdom and advancement, and in so doing, brought Hisham great honour as a patron of higher learning.

In matters of war Hisham was no great commander, however. While predecessors past had deigned to lead their men personally into battle,[1] Hisham had neither martial prowess on his side, nor a gifted mind for strategy, and thus in these aspects deferred to his advisors, his uncle and hajib al-Mughira, and the siqlabi commander Wadih, as well as relying on the Banu Tujibi of the Upper March, who treated the caliph with due respect if not fawning obeisance.

These years of peace saw Hisham gradually grow into a father, and to begin to fill his life with his children. For a time the eldest and only remained his first son, Abd ar-Rahman, who was loved by Hisham with the same blindness with which his own father had loved him. But as Abd ar-Rahman grew into a young lad, the signs began to show in him of an indolent and arbitrary nature, though balanced in some respects by his relatively kind demeanor.

Hisham had other sons in his time - there was the second, al-Mundhir, a sickly child who perished before his second year could dawn, leaving Hisham stricken by grief. But he was followed by other sons, as his concubine Buhayr brought into the world Hayyan in 384[2] and one more some three years later, and while this son would be named Muhammad he came to be known most often as al-Azraq, for his pale and breathtaking blue eyes were what one noticed most upon meeting him. Some other sons would follow late in the life of Hisham, but these two and Abd ar-Rahman are those whom history must note. At this point the potential of any one of them was yet to be formed.

Now between the births of Hayyan and al-Azraq, in perhaps 386[3] came a time of some trouble, as the migrating Berbers of the Middle March, owing their allegiances to the Hawarah Berbers of the area near Santaver,[4] fearing their position as paid soldiers of the caliph to be in jeopardy, and incited by outside forces, raised some calamity in the north. Now those Berbers who acknowledged the Santaverians as their lords migrated often between Balansiyya and Tulaytu, though descended from those who had helped to claim al-Andalus in the name of Islam some centuries prior, were often prone to making some hostile demonstration, and rising up in rebellion, but in his day al-Nasir had not deigned to break their power.

As the spring dawned in the Middle March, did the Hawarah migrating to the north attempt to seize Tulaytu from the governor there, itself a key city which while operating with some sovereignty, nevertheless stood as a bastion against the Christian. But most worrying was the sudden arrival of a host of Christians, under the command of Garcia Fernandez the Count of Castile,[5] embittered by the raids of the Córdoban against him, and desirous of a caliph more liable to wage war upon his own enemies.

Indeed, the Christian and the old foe of Córdoba had cast his lot with the Berbers through the conspiracy wrought by a group of bitter men, who sought power unto themselves. In secret they sought to set aside Hisham, and to place in his stead a descendant of al-Hakam I named Abdallah ibn Abd al-Aziz, known as al-Hajar[6] for his great avarice, whom the conspirators believed would be more favourable to their condition, and more wont to continue without question the payment of great sums to the Berber, and in the eyes of the Castilian, more likely to wage the jihad against his liege in Leon, and enable him to seek more readily his independence. And yet the leader among them was not al-Hajar himself, but rather the old nemesis of al-Mughira, the ambitious man, Muhammad ibn Abi Aamir, embittered by the execution of his son, and desirous of returning to Córdoba and ridding it of what he thought to be the unbecoming influence of insufficiently pious men.

Now as word came to Córdoba from Tulaytu, seeking the aid of the caliph, the Christians undertook to reduce the city, while the Berbers stormed the gates from the opposite side, and raised great calamity within the walls, and took for themselves much booty, and slaughtered the governor placed there by the caliph, for they sought to hold the city as the seat of their power. In haste did al-Mughira and Wadih marshal their men, drawing some two thousand mounted saqaliba as the core of their force, as well as some few thousands of mounted Andalusians and some ten thousand more of infantry, and proceeded northwards to the Upper March, there to confront the conspiracy of ibn Abi Aamir by force of arms.

[1] Abd ar-Rahman III, for instance, was known for personally leading his campaigns, at least until later in his life.
[2] 994.
[3] 996 - we're jumping ahead a few years past some peaceful times. The sons of Hisham will become important later on.
[4] You may know this group as the Dhunnunids.
[5] OTL, Garcia Fernandez died after being captured by a raiding party while out hunting in 995. Here he gets to live a little longer. He conspired more than a few times in Córdoban politics in our world.
[6] Dry Stone here was involved in a conspiracy OTL, in 989, but in that case it was against the very folks he's conspiring with here - in fact he conspired with Almanzor's son Abd al-Malik and the Tujibids of Zaragoza to divide the Caliphate. We know little about him save that his greed was sufficient to earn him a nickname based on it.

992: Work is completed on a new madrassa in Córdoba, focused on the sciences.
996: The Hawarah Berbers of the Meseta once again rebel against the Caliphate of Córdoba and attempt to seize control of Toledo. They're part of a conspiracy engineered by Muhammad ibn Abi Aamir and supported by Garcia Fernandez, the Count of Castile, to overthrow Caliph Hisham II and place a puppet caliph on the throne.
ACT I Part XI: Last Gasp of Ibn Abi Aamir
Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)*

On their march northward, the forces arrayed by al-Mughira and Wadih were joined soon by some two thousand more men, these being mounted Africans, having been despatched by the agreement of the Maghrawa warlord, Ziri ibn Atiya. These men joined up with the column as it drew near to the Upper March.

Now the conspiracy crafted by ibn Abi Aamir stood upon a foundation of his own immense powers of persuasion, and balanced delicately several competing interests. While Garcia was in his way an abettor of the conspiracy, in truth he held no love for any of the Muslims, and sought to increase mainly his own power, by the gain of the Upper March for his demesne. The Berbers, too, sought to hold the city to increase their own power, while some few mercenaries followed the dinars put forth by ibn Abi Aamir and al-Hajar. Thus it was that the relations between them were fraught, and as the Castilian and the Berber crossed paths in the city, bitterness turned on occasion to scuffle and disagreement, and some lives were lost.

Upon the looting of the city, and with the Castilian troops beginning to take up their fortified stations, the Hawarah rode out from its gates and decamped themselves outside the walls, for most of them were mounted men, and the Berbers were never known for their skill in siegecraft. It is in this situation that the army of al-Mughira and Wadih arrived, finding the better part of the Berbers beyond the walls and upon the plains, and Garcia within along with ibn Abi Aamir, al-Hajar and their paid men.

In numbers the conspirators may have in some measure combined themselves, and better resisted the armies of the caliphate, perhaps. And yet it came to pass that the frictions between them dealt the first blow as surely as the soldiers of Wadih, for the Berbers being beyond the walls, received no help from the city, and the forces of the siqlab surrounded the Hawarah in a great forking maneuver, and slew them with arrows and the spear, until many of them routed and broke across the meseta. Some detachment of al-Mughira's forces turned, and pursued the Berbers into the hinterlands, though many of the survivors would continue to stir up trouble for some time to come.[1]

Now as they regrouped from the battle beyond the walls, al-Mughira and Wadih found the gates of Tulaytu secured against them, and the men of Castile manning its walls and towers. The armies moved to encircle the city, and to prepare to move against the gates. A force of some men moved against the entryways but faced the spears and arrows of the Christian, and was repulsed for the moment, and Wadih directed the men to make good the siege, and break the resolve of the occupiers.

For some days did the armies hold their surround of the city, until the gates swung open and a body of mounted men rode forth to challenge the forces of Wadih, many of them the Castilians. No doubt these men had sought to break the siege and buy leave for their lord to return home, for it is said by some who were there that Garcia was struck in the thigh by an arrow during the fighting, and sought to seek the attentions of a physician. Nevertheless, as the Christians met the forces of Wadih, the cavalry of the Castilians crashed into the amassed front, and raised some great calamity, but they found stiff quarter in battle against the bodyguard of saqaliba assembled by Wadih, and were soon pushed back and surrounded. Now during the battle was Garcia Fernandez pulled from his horse, and slain by the blade of a spear, and it is said the slayer of him was one of the Syrians.

As the sallying forces were broken, some part of the army poured through the gates of Tulaytu, and clashed with the paid men of ibn Abi Aamir, until many began to flee from the greater numbers. In the fighting were men despatched by al-Mughira, there to find the conspirators mounting their horses and riding for the gates. The men clashed with them, and brought ibn Abi Aamir and al-Hajar into their custody, and brought them before al-Mughira in chains, and at the point of a blade. Now it is said that al-Mughira looked upon ibn Abi Aamir with some pity, and spoke unto him gravely, saying, "What prowess God gave you, ibn Abi Aamir! That your ambition has led you here can only be a great sadness, for though you have tormented me for some twenty years now, what power do you have to show for it?"

And ibn Abi Aamir said to him, "Thou accursed dog, who shows weakness to the infidel and despoils the power of the monarchy, the only power I should wish is that which could damn your eyes from your skull, and yet I shall not wish for it, for the ultimate punishment awaits you for your sins, and the weakness of your beliefs."

And al-Mughira was wroth, and turned his back on ibn Abi Aamir, and ordered his men to bind him in chains, and al-Hajar with him, and both were taken to Córdoba and presented to Hisham. Thus it was decreed that al-Hajar would be placed into the dungeon, there to live out the rest of his days, and ibn Abi Aamir with him. It was in the cells that ibn Abi Aamir's life left him, and he passed from this world some years later, his name tarnished as a conspirator against the rightful descent of the Banu Umayya. For some time afterwards al-Hajar survived, until Hisham showed him mercy some years later, and permitted him to live out his days under guard at a small estate in the countryside, though were he to leave it, would he be struck dead.

As to the fate of the Hawarah, stirred up by the conspiracy, these men continued to roam the lanes between Tulaytu and Balansiyya, and across the central meseta, accosting travellers and troubling the burghers. Thus it was that Hisham, at the advising of al-Mughira and Wadih, began to create a garrison in the area for many of the saqaliba to be stationed, as well as to settle some Andalusians of a military mind, to respond quickly to these arrivals, and to rout them as needed. Nevertheless they continued to raise some calamity for years to come. It was for this reason that the saqaliba have many of their settlements in this area, and why Deniyya is said to be a city strong in their ways.[2]

Now with the conspiracy broken, the succession of Castile passed to the son of Garcia, the man named Sancho Garcia of the Good Laws, who was less a warrior than his father, and sought some period of quiet along his frontiers. In the northwest, the border conflicts between Galicia and Leon had turned upon each other, while far to the northeast, the turmoil of the Frank had become a great upheaval, following the death of Louis some years prior, then the death of Hugh, and the usurpation of Charles, and the tribulations of the landowners over the throne.[3] Now some among those landowners would trouble the Muslims, and some knights from the lands under the lord of Aquitaine, then the fifth to be named Guilhem, deigned to ride to the lands of the Muslims and cause trouble, but these incursions came scarcely, and the borders were troubled only by these raids, and the occasional turmoil raised by the Northmen along the coasts. Beyond the lands at least, most of the strong threats were focused inwardly for the moment, and peace was left by that period of some few years, where Hisham could govern with neither war nor calamity his immediate concern, and only fickle fate his enemy.

[1] The Caliphate was almost never free of internal troubles, including from rebellious Berbers.
[2] OTL, Denia was one of the saqaliba-controlled Taifas. It also had a really good navy, incidentally. Broadly, the setting up of a garrison out here is intended to be analogous somewhat to the Bahri Mamluks out in Egypt some centuries later OTL.
[3] At some point I'll have to turn to where the butterflies have flown, 20 years out from the POD. But suffice it to say France is going to look quite different.

996: The conspiracy of ibn Abi Aamir and al-Hajar is thwarted when Garcia Fernandez of Castile is killed. Ibn Abi Aamir and al-Hajar are imprisoned, but many of the rebel Berbers escape and continue to raid villages in the Upper March.
997: In response to continued Hawarah raiding after the 996 conspiracy, the Caliphate of Córdoba begins to create a garrison of siqlabi soldiers in the meseta region, beefing up its presence there.
ACT I Part XII: War in the North
The right hand of the wind forges a coat of
mail on the river which ripples with a thousand wrinkles.
And whenever the wind adds a ring, the rain comes
along to fasten it with its rivets.

- Asa al-A'ma (c. 1131)


Excerpt: Histories of the North - Onorio of Penalba, AD 1154*

Note from Dr. Mirza: Onorio is known to history as the Abbot of the Monastery of Santiago de Penalba from 1131 to 1154 by the Christian reckoning. He seems to have worked from primary sources of his time in chronicling the histories of the Christian monarchs of the Northern Kingdoms during the time of Hisham II and his successors. I include this excerpt acknowledging that Córdoban chroniclers of the time saw the Northern Kingdoms primarily as a source of tribute, and often provided scant details of their lives.

In the years since the great fracturing of the Leonese crown did the King Ramiro III grapple with Vermudo II the Galician pretender, in some defiance of the declarations of the Mohammedan in Andalusia, whose judgment had riven the kingdom in twain. The two cousins defied the other and claimed lordship over each other's lands.

Now the nobles of Leon viewed Ramiro with some contempt, for the depth of his sin had doomed his crown to division with his cousin. As he had reached his majority as a young man, he had sought to take from the noble vassals of his land the privileges which had by tradition been vested under them, for he desired the increase of his own power. In his avarice he so offended the Galicians that it was inevitable he would be challenged. Only the mercy of the Moor spared him upon his throne, and he paid an annual tribute of gold to the king Hesham to preserve the peace, for he feared the wrath of the southerners upon him should he take up arms against them.

Now the sons of Ramiro were twofold and more admired by the nobles of the time. Of the two was the eldest, and his name was Ordono, and he was known among the court as an upright man if not sinless. And his second son was named Pelayo and born some six years after, and he came to be known too as a man of upright nature.

Yet in the nature of Ramiro remained the urge to claim more power unto himself. Some few laws have been preserved from his reign following the peace agreement with the Moor, among them his decrees seeking to increase the taxation he levied upon the nobles. It seems that the vassals of Ramiro, seeing the sin and greed of their young liege, complied scarcely with these entreaties, particularly the Counts of Castile, who had in their minds a streak of independence and a will to determine their own destiny, even as they acknowledged with their mouths but not their hearts the suzerainty of the King over their lands.

Upon the throne of Santiago, his cousin Vermudo was a man of weaker station, and though he had been supported by his nobles to the throne, he proved himself in his years to be a man of tyrannical nature. Upon the visiting to his court of Bishop Gudestus of Oviedo, come from Leon to seek parley and cessation of conflict between the cousin kings of the northwest, Vermudo instead cast the holy man into irons and placed him within the gaol, wherein the good and holy man toiled for several years. Now God beheld the conduct of the king and sent famine and drought upon the lands, and sorely afflicted the king with gout,[1] and the Galicians cried out against Vermudo's cruelty.

So incensed were the men of Leon by the tyranny of Vermudo that battle again was joined along the lines between the two crowns, and holy men exhorted the Galician to free Gudestus from the gaol and restore him to his rightful station. So precarious was Vermudo's station that he sent entreaty to the Moors who dwelled in the lands of Badajoz, themselves rightful vassals to the King of the Moors, yet eager to sell their swords in battle.[2] In the year 995 these men rode to the north to lend their swords to the Galician, though they received some chastisement from the King of the Moors, and their numbers soon began to dwindle.

Now Ramiro the King of Leon was a young man when he perished, in the year of our Lord 998, and passed his crown to his son Ordono, numbered the Fifth. Some time that year did Vermudo the Galician, sorely afflicted by the ravages of gout and troubled by the agitation of his vassals, finally relent of his tyranny and restore Gudestus to his bishopric, and the bishop traveled to Leon to place the crown upon the brow of Ordono V and crown him in the name of the Lord. Some years of peace were to follow, but in the year 1001 the disease was to claim the life of Vermudo II, and the throne passed to his only son, the youth named Sancho,[3] the second to bear that name.

As he ascended to the throne, Sancho II was but a boy of eight, and unready for the challenges left for him by his father. The nobles of the land schemed against him, and some sought to restore the Galician lands to Ordono V of Leon. Some conspiracy was crafted with the Moorish lords to the south, and the armies of Leon moved against the boy-king, whose regents were his mother Elvira along with the Duke of Galicia, one Menendo the son of Gonzalo.

The armies of Leon soon advanced into Galicia, and in 1003 did Duke Menendo cast about for allies. And yet instead he received the arrival of the Moors in great numbers in the year following, for they would often come in the summers and raid and pillage the lands. While the stout fighting men of the land could have resisted in normal days, these were fragile ones for the Galician kingdom, with a boy king and a people weary of combat. Now with the levies of Galicia warring in the east did the Moorish chancellor al-Mugheirah march to the walls of Coimbra with a host, and they stormed the gates of that city and overcame the garrison. The flag of the Mohammedans was raised above the city walls and the people forced to live beneath a Mahommedan lord, and many of the treasures of the city were taken to Córdoba to enrich the Moors greatly.[4]

Defeated at arms in Coimbra, Menendo was forced on behalf of the King to resume paying tribute to the Moorish lords. Later in the year did Ordono's men wrest Adobrica[5] from the Galician, and the kingdom's power slowly waned, while the Moors stood by and entreated the kings to be at peace. Only with these entreaties did Ordono relent and permit the young boy Sancho to reign over his reduced lands, though his authority was thought quite narrow, and his nobles exercised great power over him.

[1] Again we're mirroring OTL events, but this time Gudestus was there for different reasons, and his imprisonment is by a much weaker monarch whose kingdom doesn't include Gudestus's bishopric.
[2] Many of the tribes in this area were settled Miknasa Berbers who came over with Tariq ibn Ziyad during the conquest of Iberia. Don't feel bad if you lose track of how many different Berber tribes have a presence in al-Andalus at this point. There were a lot, which was part of the problem.
[3] Butterflies at work: OTL, Bermudo had one son named Alfonso, born in 994.
[4] Almanzor took Coimbra in 987. The much less aggressive Al-Mughira is about 17 years behind here, even without a unified Leon.
[5] Ferrol.

995: War breaks out between Leon and Galicia after Bermudo II of Galicia throws a high churchman from Leon in the gaol.
998: Ordono V succeeds his father, Ramiro III, as King of Leon.
1001: Bermudo II of Galicia dies. He is succeeded by his eight-year-old son, Sancho.
1004: A Córdoban army on a summer raid captures Coimbra in Galicia. Later that year, Leonese troops seize Adobrica. The subsequent peace reduces Galicia to a pocket kingdom and affirms Leon's relative superiority over it.
ACT I Part XIII: The Aquitaine-Pamplona Connection
Excerpt: Pocket Kingdoms: Navarre and Viguera in the Middle Ages - Artau Munez, Albatross Printing, AD 1989

IV. Garcia II and III and Sancha

King Sancho II passed away peacefully in his sleep sometime in 995, the histories specifying that it was sometime in the autumn. He left the kingdom to his son Garcia II, a man apparently in his thirties when he took the throne.

History remember Garcia II as "the Tremulous," though in fact this king's immediate preoccupation seems to have been to break the tributary agreement his father had reached with the Caliphate of Córdoba, presumably in the hopes of re-establishing the Kingdom of Pamplona as an entity capable of opposing the Muslims in Iberia at this time. In this regard it was fortuitous that his mother was Urraca Fernandez, a sister to the Count of Castile, Garcia Fernandez. That Count threw in, in 996, with conspirators led by Mohammed ibn Abi Aamir, the former master of the estates to Caliph Hisham II who had been exiled years earlier after attempting to replace the caliph's chamberlain.

It's likely that some troops from Garcia's domain joined with the Castilian contingent when the move was made to attempt to seize Toledo. Poor coordination spelled the end of that abortive coup, though, as Mohammed proved unable to rein in the competing ambitions of Garcia Fernandez and the semi-nomadic Berber tribesmen who routinely roamed the central meseta, antagonizing the Caliphate along the way. When the coup collapsed and Garcia Fernandez was killed, the Castilian crown passed to his son Sancho Garcez, who quickly moved to parley with the Muslim forces.

In Pamplona, this sudden change of fate left Garcia II in an unenviable position, having committed to breaking the peace with the Caliph but immediately losing his strongest ally. While urging his cousin in Castile to resume the conflict against the Córdobans, Garcia was otherwise forced to mount his own opposition, and a series of raids were carried out against the Muslim outposts beyond the Ebro valley. In this respect he was joined by his cousin, Sancho Ramirez of Viguera, of that pocket kingdom carved out some twenty-five years prior. With the twin kingdoms of Leon and Galicia wracked by internecine conflict and the counties of the Hispanic March seemingly unwilling to mount a serious opposition to the Caliphate, the nexus of conflict against the Moors shifted to focus on the pair of Basque pocket kingdoms.

Muslim histories of the period tend to speak little of the roles played by the Basques. However, the Jewish historian Joseph ibn Abram does mention "calamities raised by the men of the northern valleys" and speaks to a punitive expedition led sometime around 998 by Wadih, the Slavic slave-general placed in command of the frontier outpost of Medinaceli, alongside the Tujibids who held sway in Zaragoza at the time.

That expedition culminated in the Battle of Tarazona, where an army of Pamplonan and Vigueran troops led by Garcia II was defeated by the Muslim troops. Joseph ibn Abram mentions that fifty "Christians" were brought back to Córdoba as prisoners and paraded before the populace as a symbol of the Caliphal authority, though Christian sources suggest most of the survivors were able to escape back down the Ebro Valley. Certainly the raids continued after this point, as Garcia is mentioned again leading a raid in 1000, this time against Carinena, where he apparently made off with several prisoners and was pursued by the Tujibids under Yahya, the then-current governor of the area under the Caliph's authority.

The 1000 expedition is the last mention of Garcia II in the historical record, chronologically speaking, though it's known he succumbed to some sort of serious flu. Beyond raiding, his largest legacy was most likely his children with Jimena, daughter of the Count of Cea. He was succeeded by his second child and only son, Garcia III, surnamed Garces, though when he first appears as King of Pamplona in 1003, he's listed as a boy of perhaps 10 or 11, completely under the control of a regency council and with Sancho I, King of Viguera, effectively exercising authority in the kingdom.

Arguably the most historically remarkable of Garcia II's children, however, was his firstborn and older sister to Garcia III. Born around 990, she was given the name Sancha. Histories of the time speak to her as a fairly precocious child who grew up with what the historian Munio of Najera describes as "an unseemly ambition, so gravely unsuited for a maiden so fair." When Garcia III takes the throne, Sancha is described as being around the age of 13 and growing up in the court of Pamplona even as her brother toiled under a regency council led by the Pamplonan bishops, Sancho I of Viguera, his mother and his grandmother.[1]

While Garcia III aspired in his heart to rally the kingdoms of Hispania against the Muslims, he proved to be inadequate to the task, given more towards seclusion in prayer than towards matters military. From a young age he was referred to as a boy of great zeal in his religious devotions, and history remembers him as "Garcia the Pious" accordingly. As he grew into a man, Garcia took an interest in church life, particularly so in 1005 or thereabouts, when he received an emissary from Odilo, abbot of the great monastery at Cluny. Greatly impressed by the idea of welcoming these churchmen into his lands, Garcia and the regency council granted a donation to the churchmen, sending a deputation of their own to the Abbey to study the ways of that great reforming house.[2]

Perhaps it was this introduction to French thought - the Abbey of Cluny was itself based in Burgundy, and established by the dictate of a past Duke of Aquitaine some century prior - that saw Garcia and his regents turn their eyes to the north in search of friends. More likely the political climate of the time made searching a divided Iberia a non-starter, for most of the Christian kings of the north seemed either wrapped up in their own internecine bickering or simply cowed into paying tribute to the Caliphate of Córdoba, at that point a fairly stable institution on its way to establishing an elite retinue of Sclavonian slave-soldiers as a counterbalance to its historic reliance on mercenaries and imported Berbers. Regardless, in 1007 the young Garcia appears at the court of King Henry of France[3] as an emissary, and in 1008 at the court of William V, Duke of Aquitaine.

It was to the latter that Garcia betrothed his sister Sancha in that same year, making her William's second wife. The decision seems to affirm Garcia as something of a Francophile, or at least suggests that he found few opportunities in his own neighbourhood for a matrimonial alliance. With France still in deep turmoil after the great succession crisis stemming from the disastrous accession of Hugh Capet some decades prior,[4] the Dukes of Aquitaine at the time held a deep antipathy towards the French crown. William, whose first wife - Adalbert of La Marche - had born him a single daughter, apparently saw the marriage as an opportunity for any potential son of the new marriage to stake a claim on territory to the south. Whatever the reasons, the move would have significant historical ramifications.

[1] You've got about a 50-50 chance of being conceived male or female. It's a coin flip. In this case, the coin flipped, and OTL Sancho III was born female, while the second child of Sancho II was born a man.
[2] OTL, Sancho III bears a lot of the responsibility for introducing Cluniac thought into Iberia.
[3] Heh heh heh. Stay tuned.
[4] We'll get into this soon enough, but suffice it to say there are some pretty significant butterflies in France stemming from a less aggressive al-Andalus around the time the Capets became a thing.

1003: Garcia III becomes King of Pamplona.
1008: William V, Duke of Aquitaine, takes the 18-year-old infanta, Sancha of Pamplona, as his second wife.
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Do you believe andalusia can have long peace as long as there are christian kingdoms in hispania? Surely when crusader period begins the andalusians will have to remove these kingdoms because crusader will have easy bases compared to otl. Why didn't the andalusian just not simply conquer the northern kingdoms and make them pay jizya?
Do you believe andalusia can have long peace as long as there are christian kingdoms in hispania? Surely when crusader period begins the andalusians will have to remove these kingdoms because crusader will have easy bases compared to otl. Why didn't the andalusian just not simply conquer the northern kingdoms and make them pay jizya?
For one thing, nobody wanted to bother going into the mountains when the Umayyads first came through, since all that was up there were a few Visigoths and some mountain goats. For another, the Berber Revolt happened, making manpower a problem.

Northern Iberia is pretty undesirable land compared to southern Iberia. The other trouble with conquering the northern kingdoms is that it ups the level of threat. Instead of dealing with a bunch of divided fiefdoms, you're now fighting France and possibly the Holy Roman Empire, which otherwise might not care. Almanzor actually did try to take on the northern kingdoms in a serious way; his sacking Santiago de Compostella instead galvanized opposition against him.

The Crusades aren't a given with a POD this early. Some religious warring may happen but Urban II didn't call the Crusades for another 120 years or so after the POD.
ACT I Part XIV: Hugh Capet and Gerbert of Aurillac
"For those who seek to restore him to his see to the confusion of your kingdom, do not think this is enough unless they can destroy me first with whatever opportunity."

- Gerbert of Aurillac, to Queen Adelaide of the Franks, 997 (OTL)


Excerpt: Kings of Nothing: France in the Post-Carolingian Period - Amélie du Clos, Scholapresse, AD 2004

...and it was as the armies of Francia marched through the winter to press King Lothair's claim on Lotharingia that the monarch -- left hanging by his erstwhile ally, Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, and unable to muster much support for his initiative back home -- took ill and died in his tent, just before yuletide of 984.

The death of Lothair on campaign cut short the Frankish bid to wrest Upper Lotharingia from the hands of the Holy Roman Empire, and the army returned home to see to the task of raising to the throne the son of Lothair, one Louis V.

In a bid to counter the growing influence of Hugh Capet, the Duke of the Franks, Lothair had wed his son Louis to Adelaide-Blanche, sister of Geoffrey I, Count of Anjou, and widow to two powerful southern lords, the counts of Gevaudan and Toulouse. Upon the occasion of their marriage in 982, the young man was crowned as King of Aquitaine. The move was an ambitious one for Lothair: An effort to re-assert the waning power of the Carolingian dynasty in the de-facto-independent south of West Francia, where the Dukes of Aquitaine, the Counts of Toulouse and the various lords of the Catalan March owed little by way of allegiance to the throne at a time when the Frankish monarchy was a fairly weak thing to begin with.

If Lothair's hope was that empowering his son and heir in this way would bring the southern lords of the land in line, he would have been dismayed by the results of this decision. Coming to the throne at perhaps 17 or 18, he found himself wed to a woman many years his senior, perhaps in her forties. As the historian Richer of St. Remi recounts, "They had almost no conjugal love; because Louis barely left the puberty, and Adelaide was old, among them were only discord and wroth. They didn't share the common chambers and in this way can never suffer with the presence of the other; and when the crown happened so to be placed upon the brow of the young man, they spoke even lesser, and only as though by the force, and it is without a doubt that she does frowned upon the frivolity and callowness of his behaviour, and wishes to be elsewhere."[1]

It would seem that at one point or another, Adelaide made some effort to divorce herself from Louis, but the demands of kingship ensured that the matrimony between the young man and the older woman could not be so easily broken. In any case her contempt for Louis is recorded by all contemporary histories, as is the personality of Louis, almost invariably described as a vain and frivolous man given to indulging himself in youthful nonsense.

Perhaps such a young man could not have hoped to truly navigate the factional divide at the Frankish court at the time. At the court existed two factions: A faction led by Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims and the queen mother, Emma, desiring renewed friendship with the Ottonians of the Holy Roman Empire, while another faction seeking to continue the campaign for Lotharingia. Frought as well were matters around the issue of succession. The line of the Carolingian kings had been interrupted a few times before, twice by the Robertian faction and once by Rudolf Bosonid, and tensions existed as to whether the Carolingian line would continue or whether the nobility would exercise the right to choose the king.

Though initially disinterested in such court intrigues, Louis seems to have soon enough come down on the side of the anti-Ottonians, committing to renewing the campaign for Lotharingia. Sometime in 985 he sought to rally his nobles to carry out the campaign cut short by his father's death; he sought the support of Hugh Capet to no avail, and otherwise found few allies, settling instead for seeking the support of Odo I, Count of Blois. His urge to campaign in the area notwithstanding, ultimately he found himself instead vexed by his relationship to Archbishop Adalberon, to the point that in 985 he drove the churchman from his see and into the protection of Hugh Capet, with Queen Emma not far behind.

Ultimately Louis set out with his troops to complete the work of Lothair, joined by Odo's forces but with the troops of his detractors in the rival faction left behind. Bolstered by a band of mercenaries, Louis reached Verdun in 987 and besieged the city, though it would seem that his forces proved inadequate to break down that stronghold, and he was rebuffed in fairly short order.

Leaving his domain behind proved to be a foolish decision: Left in the care of the Duke of the Franks, Adalberon would bend his will to swaying Hugh into the camp of the Ottonians, and seemingly won him over. He was joined as well by another churchman of Ottonian leanings, Gerbert of Aurillac, who would become one of Hugh's strongest boosters and a central figure in the challenging years to come. A former tutor to Emperor Otto II and at one point abbott of Bobbio, Gerbert had deep ties to the Ottonians and proved to be a natural ally of Adalberon, and the two succeessfully cultivated Hugh as an ally. By the time Louis returned from his abortive campaign in 988, beaten and humiliated by the failed siege, he found himself King in name only, with Hugh widely viewed as the more kingly of figures in the land.

Louis sought to curtail the power of the Robertian faction somewhat, moving to accuse Adalberon of various heresies and minor crimes in the hopes of undermining his position. His opportunity arose in that same year, when Adalberon died on towards winter. Still with the power of investiture at this time, Louis arranged for the Archbishopric of Reims to go to Arnulf, a bastard son of Lothair and thus the king's own half-brother, ensuring himself a supporter among the clergy. The pro-Ottonians decried the appointment to an extent, but Arnulf received the papal sanction nevertheless.

The move would have lasting consequences, but it would not do much for Louis: On March 5 of 989 the young man was found dead in his cups. Contemporary accounts suggest he was poisoned on the order of his wife, who gave him no heir and as mentioned quite detested him.

With no children of his issue to claim the throne, the natural successor to Louis appeared to be his uncle Charles, the Duke of Lower Lorraine. But while he was supported by the likes of Arnulf, Charles was widely detested among the pro-Ottonian faction, despite his close ties and actions on behalf of Otto. Some years prior, he had sided with the Empire in invading Francia and laying waste to some of the core lands around Rheims and Soissons, leaving a lasting impression of him, particularly among the Robertian faction, as a traitor and a man of low character. Thus it was Gerbert of Aurillac who rose before the assembled nobles after the death of Louis V and gave an impassioned speech, praising the virtues of Hugh Capet and exhorting the nobility of the land to choose him as king.

The Robertian faction acceded to Gerbert's desires, and in 989 Hugh was reluctantly crowned by a seething Archbishop Arnulf.

Immediately after his coronation, seeking to consolidate his power, Hugh made a significant misstep in seeking to crown his son Robert as a junior monarch alongside him. This initiative was supported by Gerbert and urged by his partisans at the court. Arnulf, however, refused the king's urgings, stating that no two kings could be crowned in the same year. Contemporary accounts tell us that Hugh's argument was that he had planned an expedition against the Moors of Iberia, at the time under the reign of Hisham II. However, the activities of the Caliphate of Córdoba at the time had largely been limited against the Catalonian counties, which already held little loyalty to the Frankish throne, while most of the Moorish attention was directed against the kings of Leon and Galicia. Arnulf seemed to find little credibility in Hugh's arguments - after all, there had been no request for such a raid from Borrell, the Count of Barcelona.[2]

Hugh would have little time to campaign anyway, for the spurned Charles of Lower Lorraine quickly made to move against him. The Duke gathered support from Count Herbert of Vermandois, himself a cadet of the Carolingian line, as well as from another Carolingian loyalist, the Count of Flanders. The rebels quickly made their move on Laon and seized the city by surprise, casting Queen Emma into the gaol in the process.

Infuriated, Hugh laid siege to Laon but was rebuffed by the upstarts. Again he exhorted Arnulf to crown his son as co-monarch, and again he was refused, this time with the excuse that a king could hardly be crowned properly in such a fraught situation. Hugh had apparently hoped to try and win Arnulf's loyalty; in fact the Archbishop was betraying him. Soon enough the forces of Charles arrived at the gates of Rheims. Feigning terror, he ordered the gates thrown open for Charles, then made some show of denouncing him even as Charles's forces took control of the city. The ruse didn't last long, and Arnulf eventually swore fealty to his kinsman.

By now in a troubling predicament, Hugh reacted with anger to news of the taking of Rheims. He declared Arnulf a traitor and deemed his see vacant, and gathered those churchmen loyal to him to proclaim Gerbert of Aurillac Archbishop of Rheims in his stead. The next week, Gerbert presided over a ceremony crowning Hugh's son as King Robert II and co-monarch.

The move invited enormous controversy, of course, and supporters of the Carolingian cause denounced it as illegitimate. Charles and Arnulf quickly dispatched swift rider to Rome to seek the intervention of Pope John XV in the matter, counting on the pontiff to side with the legitimate Archbishop. Hugh too sent word to the Pope, seeking his support in stripping Arnulf of his office as a traitor and accusing him of selling his influence to Charles.[3]

[1] Adapted from the actual works of Richer of St. Remi.
[2] OTL, Hugh used the "oh we're going to go raid some Moors" argument on Adalberon to sweet-talk him into eventually crowning Robert. It actually had some oomph to it because Count Borrell genuinely was looking for help after Almanzor sacked Barcelona. Here, aside from him dealing with Arnulf (whom he'd appoint anyway), there's no campaign against Barcelona, thus no Borrell calling for help, thus no sense of urgency when Hugh tries to crown his son, thus no Capetian junior monarch. The butterflies up to there are all pretty minor, but that change is a big one that throws the whole thing into a blender.
[3] As promised, French butterflies. Sadly most of my primary sources here are in French or Latin so hopefully I'm not too far off feasible.

989: Louis V of France is poisoned by his wife and dies. At the urgings of Gerbert of Aurillac, the Franks choose Hugh Capet as their king, prompting war with the stronger claimant, Charles of Lower Lorraine.
990: Charles of Lower Lorraine seizes Rheims through the complicity of Arnulf, Archbishop of Rheims. A furious Hugh Capet declares Arnulf deposed and names Gerbert the legitimate Archbishop.
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How has the PoD impacted Africa and the rest of the Islamic world so far? Are we seeing any substantial butterflies yet?
I'm slowly plodding my way there but at a minimum we've definitely butterflied the Zawids of Granada away. Even Almanzor didn't want them; he kept them waiting, until his son took them, and Sanchuelo downright leaned on them. Al-Mughira isn't stupid enough to let a loose cannon like Zawi ibn Ziri into al-Andalus. While the Zirid-Hammadid split of Ifriqiya is liable to happen, the Zawids will have to find somewhere else to go - possibly to Sicily, or even Egypt. (The Fatimids being a Sanhaja dynasty at their core, I can't imagine them turning up their noses at having a bunch of good fighters of their tribe show up.)

Either way, we're getting to the point where the butterflies begin to tweak the Zirids, Hammadids, Kalbids and Fatimids, and from there it's on to the Levant.

On an unrelated note, they're also flapping their way into the Holy Roman Empire. Gerbert of Aurillac here was a key advisor to Otto III and later Pope Sylvester II. Here he's getting into a gigantic mess with Hugh Capet. This may change things for him.
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Do the idrisids still hold morroco anymore?
Nah. The Idrisids actually lost effective control of Morocco two years before the POD. At the moment it's held by Ziri ibn Atiya of the Maghrawa tribal confederacy, though in reality it's a bunch of little tribal groupings of which the Maghrawa are the strongest.
ACT I Part XV: Francian Succession Crisis
Excerpt: Kings of Nothing: France in the Post-Carolingian Period - Amélie du Clos, Scholapresse, AD 2004

- 2 -
Hugh Capet, Charles of Lower Lorraine
and the Succession Crisis of the 990s

Finding his demand for the deposition of Arnulf to fall on deaf ears, Pope John XV embroiled in conflict with his nobles in Rome at the time, Hugh Capet settled for convening a synod of the French bishops himself in 990. That gathering declared Arnulf deposed and selected Gerbert of Aurillac as Archbishop of Rheims in his place.

As word reached Rome of the happenings in Francia, Pope John XV dispatched a letter back to Hugh Capet's domain, proclaiming Arnulf to be the legitimate Archbishop of Rheims and declaring Gerbert's nomination invalid. While some bishops loyal to the cause of Charles acceded and acknowledged Arnulf, the greater whole of the French clergy instead renewed their support for Gerbert, at that point reigning from Paris as Charles dug into Rheims and secured the city.

Through 990 to 991, Hugh's armies made attempts to break down Laon, but Charles held fast within its walls and continued to repulse the efforts of the Robertian faction to remove him. Meanwhile, within the city, Charles was formally crowned King of the Franks by Arnulf, in a ceremony dismissed by Hugh as invalid and unlawful.

An attempt was made around this time by a churchman to seize the persons of Charles and Arnulf, but the perpetrator - Adalberon, then Bishop of Laon - was caught by the retinue of Charles and cast into the gaol forthwith. Emboldened by the defeat of this conspiracy, Charles cast about for further allies; having already secured the loyalty of Odo, the Count of Blois, he sent appeal to some of the nobles of the south of Francia, mostly made up of powerful fiefs nominally loyal to the crown but in fact all but autonomous. None of them threw in with his plot to usurp the throne, and most stayed out of the combat, though Hugh's efforts were hindered somewhat by the hostility to him of William IV, Duke of Aquitaine at the time.

Prior to his accession as king, Hugh had been granted Aquitaine by the late king Lothair, though the king had later been reconciled to William's father, William III. As Hugh continued to claim Aquitaine for himself, William refused to recognize his election and raised his levies to war with the crown. Even as Charles made gains in the north, the armies of the Duke of Aquitaine met a royal army near Bourges in late 990 and turned the king's men back. This put Hugh in the position of dealing with the Carolingian pretender storming his kingdom in the north, while in the south, a disloyal vassal troubled him, though it would seem that the campaign of Charles was viewed as the more existential threat.

Finding his siege of Laon coming to naught, Hugh withdrew his forces to regroup, at which point the forces of Charles took to the field and marched on Soissons, taking the city in the spring of 992 after some few months of siege. At this point the usurper's army was coming uncomfortably close to Paris. Late in that year Charles met a setback as Hugh scored a narrow victory over him as their armies met at Compiegne; while losses weren't grave on either side, Charles chose to regroup and prepare for a more serious push on Paris, his eyes still set on the throne.

As winter passed with Francia still wracked by division, an attempt was made on Charles's life on Yuletide of that year, but the would-be assassin - the son of a minor nobleman loyal to Hugh - was captured and put to death. The year passed without incident, and as the cold weather broke, Pope John XV finally waded into the tussle in Francia, convening a synod in Metz to settle the matter. Hugh forbid the French bishops from attending, but even as the French clergy confirmed Gerbert as the Archbishop of Rheims, the German bishops gathered at Metz declared the election of Gerbert illegal, and ordered the restoration of Arnulf to the privileges of his see.

The French clergy refused to recognize this decree as valid, and in the spring of 994, John XV declared both Hugh and Gerbert excommunicated, not wishing to excommunicate the entirety of the French clergy for fear of creating a schism. The decision came some time after a push by the Robertians to retake Soissons failed, with much of Hugh's army lost in an abortive attempt to storm the gates.

As the royal army withdrew, Charles pursued them out from Rheims and Soissons, and reached the gates of Paris just in time to learn of Hugh's excommunication. As support for Hugh waned among the commons and among some nobles on the fence, the pro-Carolingian forces laid siege to the city. Despite bloody losses as the autumn dragged on, eventually Charles and his troops were able to break into the city and engage the royal army in the streets. Hugh was captured and killed during the fighting, while his son Robert was seen escaping on horseback with Gerbert and a much-diminished retinue, bound westward.

With Hugh driven out of Paris, Charles made his way to the palace, where Arnulf once again affirmed him as Charles IV, King of the Franks, and himself as Archbishop of Rheims. But his position was a precarious one, for while many of the nobles had not been quick to jump to Hugh's defense, the Robertian faction remained strong in the land, and the power base of Charles remained concentrated mainly in his relatives. The death of Odo of Blois in 995 robbed Charles of one of his strongest supporters and replaced him in the counthood of Blois with his son Theobald II, a boy of ten years and unready to rule, much less support a usurper king. His relation Herbert III, Count of Vermandois, would also die within a couple of years and leave a teenaged son to rule his lands. Beyond that, though, the clergy of France and the barons and nobles of the land were broadly opposed to Charles, and favoured the Robertians greatly. While Charles had some supporters - aside from Arnulf, he counted on the uneasy support of Sevinus, Archbishop of Meaux - by and large he faced a hostile gentry out to remove him from power.

Charles raised the ire of those lower nobles early in his tenure on the throne, when his guards discovered Robert the son of Hugh taking refuge in the court of Fulk III of Anjou. Robert fled upon hearing the royal guard coming for him, but he was soon captured and thrown into the gaol as a traitor, where he perished in starvation and sickness in the late spring of 996. Shortly after that Charles was obligated to send his men to quell a revolt among the population of Meaux, agitated against him by churchmen loyal to the Robertian cause. As for Gerbert, he eluded capture and went into exile in al-Andalus, out of the reach of the Church for the moment.[1]

But Charles IV, known as the Usurper, would not long outlive Robert; in 997, he was slain in his chambers by a knife-wielding assailant, apparently his chamberlain, and likely on the orders of one of Robert's supporters. Charles's son Otto, left behind in Lower Lorraine as regent, set out for Paris in the hopes of securing the succession, but the dukes of Francia quickly convened a council to insist upon the right of the nobility to elect the king, the Robertian faction seeing an opportunity to oust the hated Carolingians once again. The council was held without Otto in attendance, though his younger son Louis, who had come to Francia with him, spoke in favour of his brother, only for the greater part of the dukes to brush him off and choose instead Henry, Duke of Burgundy and brother to the late Hugh.

At that time an old man with no heir to succeed him, Henry was chosen as a compromise candidate, one who would die in a few years' time and bring the nobles back to the election table to choose someone else when tensions had faded somewhat. But Henry found himself facing the same challenges as Charles and Hugh: A divided kingdom with the power of the crown so reduced that the role of King of the Franks had become almost a titular title, with his vassals effectively operating autonomously. Again he faced stubborn refusals from the likes of the Counts of Vermandois and the Dukes of Aquitaine to recognize him, though surprisingly Otto of Lower Lorraine, succeeding Charles as duke of that fief, chose not to pursue his father's usurped throne, though he sent on letters of protest, continued to style himself King of the Franks, and demanded that his father's assassin be found and brought to justice.[2]

Though Henry's grip on France was fragile and to some extent unwanted, he surprised the court in 998 when his third wife, Mathilde, turned up pregnant - and in 999 brought a boy named Adalbert into the world.[3][4]

[1] So much for the OTL Pope Sylvester II. And the Capetians.
[2] OTL, Charles lost his bid for the crown and died in Hugh Capet's gaol, and Otto did nothing to really push the issue. In general he seems like a less ambitious man than his father, and in this case he's not about to get stabbed to death like his dad.
[3] OTL, Henry's only biological child was Aramburga, a daughter, setting up a succession crisis when his stepson inherited Burgundy and came into conflict with King Robert. Here, we're going into the Burgundian branch of the Robertian line, and the only kid is male.
[4] I've had this chain of events in the hopper for awhile and figured it'd be a good time to get it off my plate. While this change creates enormous butterflies in the Holy Roman Empire and even England, I'm thinking our next stop is Ifriqiya, then back to al-Andalus for awhile.

994: Pope John XV excommunicates Hugh Capet and Gerbert of Aurillac after their refusal to relinquish the Archbishopric of Rheims back to Arnulf. Later that year, Charles of Lower Lorraine captures Paris. Hugh is killed and Gerbert escapes with Hugh's son Robert, and Charles is crowned Charles IV of West Francia.
997: Charles IV of West Francia is assassinated after years of grappling with the anti-Carolingian faction. Before his son can reach Paris, the dukes of France proclaim Hugh's brother, Henry, Duke of Burgundy, as the new King. Many of the electors refuse to recognize him, including Duke William V of Aquitaine.
999: A son, Adalbert, is born to the aging King Henry of West Francia.
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So the major nation break ups are happening, abbasid to persians, seljucks and fatimid challenge. France to its vassel (capets are now in power?) North africa is being north african. Northern christian kingdoms broken. Its quite ironic the HRE is actually seems not to be in turmoil.