Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

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

  1. snassni2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2015
    By the way glad to see my hometown mentioned in a TL.:)
    You wrote that Oujda was founded in the Rif. In OTL it's not considered to be part of the Rif. Or did Ziri build the city in a different location than OTL?

    What do people around Hisham think of his male harem?
  2. lotrian Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    He mentioned Oudja not Oujda. Is it an ATL newfounded city? According to the location described in the note, it should be in the Tetuan area.

    I really like this timeline. Al-Andalus timelines are some of my favourites since an old EU2 game with Grenade when I was a teenager.
    This one is really well-written. I have sometimes trouble with the amount of details provided, but it's probably because I'm not familiar with that era.
    I am wondering about the butterflies in the rest of the world. We've seen already France and Maghreb, but I'm wondering what's happening in other places where a lot of changes are happening OTL. Would there be an ATL William the Conqueror ? Selçukid invasions ? Christianity schism ? Was Kievan Rus still converted to christianity ?
    Many questions I know, but it's because I am really impatient to see what's next. Don't feel obliged to answer all my questions, I am perfectly fine with the way you conduct your timeline :)
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  3. snassni2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2015
    Lol my mistake I read it as Oujda, cause he founded the city in OTL. Oudja doesn't exist in OTL. So I'm guessing it was founded instead of Oujda.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
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  4. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Has no idea
    How are the abbasid rightful caliphs? They usurped it from the Umayyad, their claims comes through their link to 'Abbas'
  5. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    You can tell I'm not native to the area. Bleagh. It's intended to be OTL Oujda, roughly around where Oujda is; of course I muffed a geographic detail. Morocco's always the hardest part of this TL to do properly because records on Ziri's time are so sketchy.

    Opinions vary on Hisham having a male harem. His father and grandfather both did, and there's sort of a tacit acceptance of it at some levels - especially among the artistic types and the poets, who romanticize it, given the volume of Islamic love poems about young boys - but others at court just roll their eyes and shake their heads but grudgingly accept it as a family quirk. The clerics aren't fond of it, but who's going to lecture the Caliph on matters of religious orthodoxy?

    It definitely ran in the family, though. There's a story that Hisham's father wouldn't sleep with his concubine until they cut her hair short, dressed her up like a man and called her Ja'far.

    There's a hell of a lot of world to cover, and I'll double back as we go along and bring some of those elements in. Some of them, like Kievan Rus', I'm still hammering out. The ones I do have set in stone will come out in time, but I'll throw you one spoiler, at least: The Norman conquest of England has likely been butterflied, even if the Anglo-Saxons aren't long for this world.

    I'm glad you're enjoying it. I hope I'm not burying you in detail. I'm getting as granular as I am to try and avoid some of the common al-Andalus instafixes, like "why don't they all just get along" and "well why don't they conquer France" and such. But I also view history as the story of people and moments and I wanted to have a character-driven TL.

    They were recognized as so by the ummah. The Abbasids also claimed that their lineage through 'Abbas gave them a closer lineage to the Prophet than the Umayyads had, since 'Abbas was one of Muhammad's uncles, which made the Abbasids Hashemites. But there was wide discontent with the Umayyads, and the Abbasids didn't have a hard time finding support for usurping the Caliphate.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  6. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas

    Jul 14, 2014
    Deep beneath the waves
    This is the Andalus timeline I've enjoyed the most precisely because it takes a very realistic, in my opinion, view of Andalus' circumstances. No easy fixes like just conquering the Christian kingdoms, no easy resolution of the underlying problems that afflict the regime.

    It'll be interesting to see how this kingdom endures into the future, especially as Europe turns outward and expansionistic.
  7. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Has no idea
    If its link of blood then fatimid have the strongest claim via fatima and ali the probably the strongest claim, that would explain why abbasid and fatimid had a terrible relationship.
    Abbasid support come from the conservative and reactionary part of society, the umayyads were very liberal especially with woman, and some of the underlying problem with islam today can be blamed on the abbasid.

    Ummah mean very little yes they were elected by them but no one cared, if we did then the ottomans were caliphs (they claimed it but people didn't care if they did) its the senate during the empire or holy roman empire claiming to be successor to rome no one recognised it and or cared. The reason why like the umayyad is because they were liberal, cool history and equality between the genders existed.
  8. Threadmarks: ACT I Part XIX: The Death of Hisham II

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    Excerpt: The Palm of the Distant West Nurtured in the Soils of al-Andalus - Joseph ibn Abram al-Qadisi, AH 442 (AD 1059)*

    The enmity between the sons of Hisham festered like a buboe on the face of the Banu Umayya, for though Abd ar-Rahman sought to raise glory unto himself, and further his favour in the eyes of his father, it rankled in his heart that he could not be thought of as a man as just as his brother Hayyan, and though Hayyan sought to bring honour to his family, he was wroth that Hisham still favoured his elder brother.

    Now both of the sons were fine men at arms, and sought to raise their standing through the jihad as well as through their acts of learning, and in so doing both brought with them allies. Thus it was that as the Banu Ifran of the Maghreb agitated against al-Mu'izz ibn Ziri, and raised some calamity in the whereabouts of Sale, did Abd ar-Rahman ride to Fes to join some number of Andalusians with the men of the Maghrawa, and sought to bring the rebels into submission. That was in the 406th year,[1] though the Banu Ifran, while agreeing to pay the tribute to al-Mu'izz as they had to Ziri, were sore wroth with this.

    Now Hayyan was more beloved by the Saqaliba, and by many of the old families, and he turned his eyes away from the kingdoms of the north, with whom a peace had settled, and towards the counties of the Marches, for in the feuds of the monarchs of the Franks, those counts had ceased to pay tribute to the Frankish crown, and had not recognized any Frankish king since the rise and death of Hugh and his deposition by Charles, and their lands were in practicality without sovereign save for those counts who dwelled there.

    Through the swiftness of his tongue and the earnestness of his words was Hayyan able to persuade his father Hisham to permit him to ride to the north, to again cross swords with the counts of the Marches. Taking with him Wadih, the commander of Madinat as-Salih, and the Siqlabi known as Mujahid,[2] himself raised a great warrior, Hayyan led a party of some few thousand Andalusians, Saqaliba warriors and African riders, and entered the lands of the Christian, and raised great calamity against Barshilunah a second time.

    Some years prior, the raiding of Abd ar-Rahman had come close to the gates of Barshilunah, and yet Hayyan exceeded this, and breached the city, and put the defenders to the sword. Many of the Christians were captured, and much riches seized, and the city was laid prostrate before the Muslim. Now driven from the walls, the Count Ramon Borrell did write some plea to the very King of the Franks whose predecessors he had spurned, and beseeched him to send men at arms to relieve the situation, but the King of the Franks at the time was King Adalbert, and was then a man of perhaps seventeen or eighteen years, and mistrusted by his nobles, and possessed of lands distant from Catalunya. The King would later write to Ramon Borrell, urging him to "perhaps recall your oath to the Crown, rather than the bending of your knee to the Ishmaelite," while assuring him that no men could be spared - and in any case, his lords would not consent to ride to the south, consumed as they were by the power struggles within West Francia. No warriors of the Franks thus rode to the rescue, and the army of Hayyan returned from their expedition without interception, and the people of Córdoba were much pleased with the success of the faithful over the Christian.[3]

    Now it was about this time that Abd ar-Rahman saw the successes of his brother, and resolved to win his love, for he saw in him a useful commander for when he would succeed their father. Some time after the sacking of Barshilunah did the two brothers meet, with their sister A'isha endeavouring to bring between them a peace, and urging them towards greater conciliation, and honour towards their father's wishes.

    With a spirit of humility did Hayyan agree to honour the desires of Hisham, and to follow in the decisions his father would make, though at heart he remained wroth, and wished it were not so. With satisfaction did Abd ar-Rahman embrace his brother and call him friend.

    But the brothers could not know that as they made some efforts to serve together, if not love one another, A'isha was deep in the shadows, and whispered in close conspiracy with some diverse group of others, though these conspirators were not yet in the open. The oldest daughter of Hisham, and a woman of stubborn spirit and quiet insight, she saw that the Caliphate could not bear the feuding of two strong brothers, and she sought to lay the situation right.

    And yet as the late months of 408[4] came upon the world, and the colder weather set upon Córdoba, did Hisham withdraw himself further, and confided in his favourite Ragad that his vigour was beginning to fade, and his years of rule had aged him beyond the passing of the calendar. "O my friend! I can see the enmity between my sons as clearly as the dawn," he said to Ragad one day, "and though I know that Hayyan will faithfully serve his brother, I can but wish he would do so joyously."

    And Ragad took his master's lament, and he too followed into the shadows, and conspired privily with A'isha, and the two began to hatch a plot to secure the future of the land.

    Their plot would not yet see fruition before the slow passage of the cold months of 408 and into spring, when Hisham withdrew from his duties, and took to his bed with a lingering fever, spending his days at rest. At his side were his sons and daughters, standing vigil over him, as well as Ragad, and Ahmad the hajib. It was clear that the life would leave him soon, and the caliphal power would pass to Abd ar-Rahman.

    In those waning days, Abd ar-Rahman moved to secure himself, and demanded the loyalty of both Hayyan and al-Azraq, and the brothers swore to uphold the wishes of their father that Abd ar-Rahman be caliph. He received as well the loyalty of the younger brother, al-Hakam, though he was suspicious of him, for though he knew Hayyan and al-Azraq were unfond of him, he imagined dissemblage in al-Hakam's quietude and preference for scholasticism and prayer, and wondered privily if the younger brother had some conspiracy within him, for Abd ar-Rahman found it more difficult to know his mind than those of his other brothers. He ordered a guard placed upon al-Hakam's person, and undertook to watch him for signs of conspiracy, though this came to naught. He slept as well with a guard outside his door, and would not eat without a servant to first taste his wine, lest some assassin strike him down.

    All these precautions preserved him, and on the 14th day of Shawwal, in the year 408,[5] did Hisham II al-Mu'ayyad close his eyes and fall asleep in God, and did pass into death peacefully in his 54th year, 42 of which were spent in the rule of the Caliphate.[6]

    Swiftly did his heir move to secure his position, and Abd ar-Rahman was presented to the court, accompanied by his sister A'isha as well as the hajib, Ahmad. So styled al-Musta'in-billah, did he rise as the fourth ruler of the land of the name Abd ar-Rahman, and was recognized by the people as the caliph. He could not know that the conspirators continued to whisper against him in the shadows, and that many of those who hailed him as caliph sought instead to work against him.

    [1] Roughly 1015.
    [2] This individual became leader of the taifa kingdom of Denia OTL.
    [3] Almanzor sacked Barcelona in 985. Hayyan is about 30 years behind him. Adalbert, the son of Henry of Burgundy, is about as jerky to Ramon Borrell here as OTL Hugh Capet was to Borrell II, and hamstrung by the French monarchy's weakness anyway.
    [4] 1018.
    [5] March 5, 1018.
    [6] We don't know when OTL Hisham died but he was presumably more insulated from the actual hardships of ruling in reality, given that Almanzor locked him in the palace and wouldn't let him out. ITTL, Hisham had a long, boring reign where he had to balance a precariously-perched caliphate very carefully. 42 years after the POD, Hisham exits stage left. Buckle in and get ready for the fireworks.

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  9. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Has no idea
    Yeah daughters are finally seen, and are just as challenging as the sons.
    Who did muslim princesses marry because their society isn't feudal.
    Muslim Kievan ruse for the win. A major muslim slavik power in the north could cause a collapse in byzantine and the seljuck. Just for the giggles declare them selfs caliphs and to be honest they have more of a chance than the umayyad have of taking it back.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  10. Threadmarks: ACT I Part XX: Abd ar-Rahman IV of Cordoba

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    She had slipped out of the harem only discreetly, in the dead of night. Deeply hooded and veiled to hide herself from the world, the eunuch Ragad moving behind her like a shadow, she slid with care through the courtyard and into the foliage by the Wadi al-Kabir,[1] where the starlight danced on the water and the low gurgle of the river kept words from carrying.

    Only the dim flicker of the candle told Aisha they were there - three of them, each hooded as well. Perfect.

    The daughter of Hisham slid back her hood; dark curls poured free of it. A'isha was a woman who could be called less beautiful than she could handsome, strong-jawed and sharp of feature. Stern dark eyes moved from face to face - Mujahid the commander of the Saqaliba, Fatin the master of the royal wardrobe, and her own younger brother, Muhammad, the one they called al-Azraq.

    "We don't have much time," she said, voice low. "Morning will come soon and we mustn't be discovered."

    "Then we shall get straight to the point." Beard bristling slightly behind his hood, Mujahid folded his arms across his chest and scowled. "We all know there are better men for the job than Abd ar-Rahman. We've committed to that. We need to find a candidate."

    A'isha lowered her eyelids slightly. "And we need to find a way to remove him, or turn enough of the court that they will remove him."

    From the shadows of his cloak, Fatin, a willowy young man with soft blond hair, bit down to his lower lip in worry. "Do we have a candidate to replace him yet? Surely someone could do it."

    "What about him," Ragad suggested with a stiff nod towards A'isha's younger brother.

    From his seat on a smoothed-off stone, al-Azraq lifted his head. The ice-like clarity of those pale blue eyes settled on A'isha, steady.

    He shook his head. "I don't want to be Caliph," he said, his soft voice low and level. "All I want is to know that I can wake up in the morning and know that the Caliph is not the brother who laughed at me when I struggled and sneered at me when I succeeded. I'll help you to remove him. But I won't replace him." He lowered his head.

    "Besides," he added more quietly, "I don't think our candidate should know he's our candidate."

    A moment's silence hung over the gathering. A'isha finally broke it with a clearing of her throat. "Brother," she murmured, "Who did you...?"

    "Isn't it obvious?" grunted Mujahid. "Our candidate should be Hayyan."

    "But he's reconciled with Abd ar-Rahman. Surely he wouldn't join us," Fatin worried, knitting his hands together.

    As realization dawned on A'isha, she shook her head, brushing back a curl. "No... he never would. He's too loyal. But he would have to rise to the occasion if something were to happen to Abd ar-Rahman - and his hands would be completely clean."


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

    It must be said of Abd ar-Rahman IV that he was a man of two natures, one of industry and tenacity, and another of malice and carelessness. For though his nature as a man of wroth and arbitrariness caused many in the court to chafe beneath his rule, so too was it true that the caliphal treasury did not diminish in the years of his reign, and his spending of the dinars was temperate, and not to excess.

    Now the early days and months of the reign of Abd ar-Rahman IV were months of some minor turbulence, as he attempted to secure the land from within and without. At his bidding, the King of Leon, then the fifth to be called Ordono, made journey to Córdoba, and there received from Abd ar-Rahman demand of tribute, and renewal of the status of submission imposed upon him by Hisham II. The Christian did grudgingly accept these terms, and gave gifts unto Abd ar-Rahman, but left most rankled by the caliph's imperious attitude, and lamented to his bodyguards, "Look, look at the smirk upon the face of the Moor, as he dictates his terms as some emperor! How long shall we bend our knee to the heathen?"

    In the north, the occasional disturbance from the men at arms of Castile and the small land called Viguera - then but the tiniest kingdom, and nearly forgotten - was met with force from the defenders at Madinat as-Salih, though in the mountains of Pamplona was the King Garcia III silent, and devoted to his prayer. In his stead began to appear the occasional mounted raiders of the land of Aquitaine, bound to the house of Garcia by the bonding of the Duke William to the young princess, Sancha.

    Abd ar-Rahman moved against these raiders, and in 409[2] did move against the raiders, and struck against the city of Najera and its surrounds, and set some villages to the torch. Thus chastised, did Sancho III agree to withdraw his men, and keep his peace thus far.

    With his neighbours to the north making only these small protestations against him, and easily kept at bay by their own squabbles - for at that time Leon again set its eye upon the remnants of Galicia, and lusted after it, and raised its levies to seize those lands from the Galician kings once more, to which Abd ar-Rahman voiced no objection - the Caliph nonetheless sought to legitimize his rule by pressing the jihad against the Christian. For though the son of al-Hakam II had been accepted out of love, and embraced for his mildness in rule, it was more difficult for Abd ar-Rahman, whose demeanor drew the scowls of many at the court.

    Seeking a demonstration of his reach, and to legitimize himself, did Abd ar-Rahman look across the sea, and to the isle called Sardinia by the Christian. In those days the island was a divided place, once a subject of the Greek, but sorely divided, and ruled by local lords,[3] and Abd ar-Rahman saw in it a place ripe for the spread of his domain, as once had been tried in the Djabal al-Qilal under the emir Abdullah.[4]

    The mission was placed beneath the command of Mujahid, the Siqlabi, for he had some knowledge of ships, and ties to the sailors of Denia, where the Saqaliba were many. Now over the seasons did Mujahid marshal the ships of the caliphate, and Abd ar-Rahman beseeched his brother Hayyan to marshal the forces, and when the date came in the year of 410, were massed some few thousand of Andalusians and conscripts, and some Saqaliba, and some handful of riders from Africa send by al-Mu'izz. These men boarded the ships, and set sail into the east.

    And yet, as the ships sailed for the east, did A'isha the daughter of Hisham go to Ragad the favourite of her father, and the two schemed to put their plot into motion.

    At the same time, messengers brought word from the north of the passage from this world of Garcia III of Navarre, the young man having been felled by some ailment, some time after a meal. Now the Basques of Pamplona being a people not averse to the ensconcing of the female sex upon the throne, was Garcia replaced by his sister, Sancha.

    Now this created the seed of a great danger, for though this young woman, she of breathtaking beauty and a mind as sharp as the finest sword, was enthroned as Queen of Pamplona, so too was she also the Duchess of Aquitaine, and wed to a man twenty years her senior and gradually failing in his later years, and with a young son named William Sancho in line to follow him to the throne. Thus was laid a most dire portent, that of the marital link between Pamplona and Aquitaine, guided by the hand of a woman of towering ambition, and with one child soon to inherit both, and the caliph cast a wary eye to the north even as his men took to the sea.[5]

    [1] The River Guadalquivir.
    [2] 1019.
    [3] The judicati. OTL, the taifa of Denia, under Mujahid, attempted an invasion of Sardinia in the early 1010s. Here, it's a juicy target, far afield, and Abd ar-Rahman has reason to do something to show he's a worthy caliph.
    [4] Between about 889 and 973, the Umayyads "held" a small colony at Fraxinet in Provence. At its peak the Moors had colonies near Grenoble and Nice and held part of the Susa Valley before William the Liberator, Count of Provence, kicked them out. The Arabic placename means "Mountain of Many Peaks."
    [5] Enter a potential strong enemy. Aquitaine-Navarre appears much less simple to kick around than the divided remnants of Leon. Sancha, remember, is a similar person to OTL Sancho III, but born female. More on her later.

  11. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Has no idea
    Don't know why im asking this but are viking raids still happening anymore, against them (umayyad) because they did happen and unlike the their anglo-saxons the andalusians were good at dealing with them, just imagining a muslim viking going to pillage for jihad would be funny.
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  12. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    They're out there. But there's also a lot going on in England around this time that's attracting the attention of a bunch of them. OTL, we'd be in the first seven or eight years of Cnut the Great and the North Sea Empire; ITTL, I'll be getting to it soon enough. I'm likely going to take another break in the al-Andalus side of the narrative soon and circle back to touch on some of the past few years of butterflies for the likes of England, the Holy Roman Empire, the Fatimids, the Seljuks and the Byzantines, since at this point we're quite a bit past the POD and a natural transition in the Andalusian story is about to come up.
  13. Threadmarks: ACT I Part XXI: Umayyad Invasion of Sardinia

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    Excerpt: Lives of Medieval Andalus: Tracing the Footsteps of the Western Caliphs - 'Amr Saadeddine, Falconbird Press, 1427 (2006)

    The Umayyad invasion of Sardinia in 410[1] presents historians of the life of Abd ar-Rahman IV with a quandary because primary sources on it are fragmentary. The importance of it is often overshadowed by domestic events, but for Muslim and Christian alike it became an event of some importance.

    At the time, the island of Sardinia was divided. Since the invasion of Sicily in AD 827 by the Christian calendar, the island, once a province of the Eastern Roman Empire, had effectively been cut off from Constantinople and had increasingly turned to its own devices. The Sardinia of the day was divided into giudicati - or districts ruled by a judge. At least four are known - those of Arborea, Logudoro and Gallura appear to have existed since the third century by the Muslim reckoning, while that of Cagliari, the southernmost portion of the island, is known since 410. The island may also have had some lingering elements of a Berber or Arabized-Berber population, left behind from earlier raids out of North Africa.

    The divided nature of the island - and the scarcity of primary sources knowledgeable of the invasion - make determining exactly what happened difficult. On the Muslim side, primary sources such as Ibn Hakam write later, and with an eye towards glorifying al-Muntasir. This is normally avoided somewhat by turning to Joseph ibn Abram's Palm of the West. A Jewish historian, Joseph traditionally separates himself from the urge of other Andalusian historians to heap praise upon the current Caliph. But his sources are primarily courtly; while his writings provide an excellent picture of life at the court of Córdoba at the time, he does not seem to have a military source, or access to information about what actually happened in Sardinia beyond the scuttlebutt at court afterwards.

    More light is shed on the Muslim presence in Sardinia by the chronicles recorded by the people of Pisa, then one of the great merchant cities of Italy. While fragmentary and fairly terse, a chronicle of later Pisan expeditions in the western Mediterranean records that ships out of "Spain" had harried the coasts in minor raids even before the accession of Abd ar-Rahman IV. For instance, the Pisan chronicles record that in 1012, "an expedition of the Saracens reached Piombino, and smote her."[2]

    The legitimacy of the Córdoban Caliphate rested to some extent on the willingness of the Caliph to wage jihad against Christians. The various regional rulers in Umayyad Andalusia also boasted of some regional autonomy. Most likely the raiders in 1012 and later were small groups, likely sailing out of the ports of Deniyya and Qadis, whether with the sanction of Caliph Hisham II or independently.

    The Pisan histories are still, nevertheless, terse on the attack on Sardinia. The chronicle reports for the year 1020, "The Saracen reached Sardinia, and destroyed her." Another fragmentary chronicle suggests that the expedition's leaders - Hayyan ibn Hisham II and the Siqlabi commander Mujahid - arrived with no less than a hundred ships, suggesting something rather more serious than a raid.

    What we can piece together from the fragments of various sources suggests that Hayyan and Mujahid arrived in early spring, circling to strike the island from the south and sailing into the so-called Gulf of Angels to land near Cagliari. Archaeological evidence suggests that the city had been heavily depopulated at the time by movement of burghers northward, as the city was felt to be heavily exposed to piracy out of North Africa and Andalusia. The Andalusians encountered little resistance and moved to capture the city, defeating the garrisons in place and capturing the judge who ruled over the area. Common to Muslim histories of Andalusia at the time are stories of the personal valour of Hayyan in leading a body of horse at the head of the charge, though some of this has likely been mythologized, given later events.

    What is clear is that resistance to the Umayyad attack soon crumbled, and the Andalusians gained control of the city and established a beach-head. Archaeological remains near the city suggest that Hayyan set to work establishing a fortified camp for his men. As the months unfolded, the Andalusians spread across the south of the island, taking Santa Igia, then continuing west and east. They turned north up the coastal plain to take control of the villages up to about as far north as Arbatax, placing about the southeastern third of the island under their control. Andalusian histories again mention a major battle there, likely against one of the northern giudicati, where the advance seems to have been halted.

    By the end of the year, Hayyan had boarded a ship to return to Córdoba, leaving Mujahid in command of the forces left to hold Sardinia. He would soon meet sterner resistance. Though Rome at the time was caught up in the running intrigues between the families of the Crescentii and Theophylacti, with the German Pope Sergius V - Bernward in a former life[3] - holding a tenuous grip on the papal throne, the pontiff nevertheless turned to the merchant cities of Pisa to sanction their efforts to remove the Umayyads from Sardinia, providing them with the service of some number of mercenaries.[4]

    Whatever the outcome of the fighting, Hayyan returned home to some pomp and circumstance, welcomed by a parade through the streets in which he brought Abd ar-Rahman IV treasure and prisoners from Sardinia along with word of the foothold established there. Abd ar-Rahman made some show of publicly praising his younger brother, downplaying the history of tension between them.

    Not long after that parade, however, events took a different turn.

    [1] 1020.
    [2] OTL, Pisan histories claim Pisa herself was actually attacked by the Muslims on a number of occasions around this time. Especially after 1013, the taifa kingdom of Denia actually had a good navy, plus control over the Balearic islands, and would've been responsible for a lot of the naval raiding out of Iberia, though the Kalbids of Sicily also seem to have done a bit of naval raiding.
    [3] One more al-Andalus post is still to come before I double back and start covering things like the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy, and how Bernward of Hildesheim ended up Pope. We'll also get into the state of things in England. Basically we're due for a fifty-year check-up on the rest of the world. Maybe I'll even provide maps this time.
    [4] OTL, the Pope asked Genoa to get involved too. Here, Bernward's getting Pisa to ship in some hired men. (Normans, maybe?)

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  14. Threadmarks: ACT I Part XXII: Young Blue-Eyes and the Triumphant One

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    "Leave me," the Caliph said to the handler of his wardrobe.

    The blond Siqlabi, unmanned and delicate, bowed with hands folded, the robes and finery of the Caliph bundled in his arms. Wordless, Fatin took his leave, and left the bathhouse empty save for the lord of the land, and the soft, soothing sound of water lapping against polished marble.

    Abd ar-Rahman stepped down the polished stairs, past one of the soaring horseshoe arches with marble aglitter in snowy white and lush red. The steaming water wrapped around him inch by inch, like a loving hand. He sunk deep into it, letting dark hair fan out across its surface, letting the water soak into his beard. The Caliph closed his eyes and lowered himself to a seat, reclining and tilting back his head as though in a rest.

    The days had exhausted him - all the pomp and circumstance of the return of that fool Hayyan from the Sardinian island. Abd ar-Rahman had spent the ensuing weeks seething privately. The triumph had belonged too much to his brother, and not to him, the Commander of the Faithful who had made that battle possible. Only the younger brother's oath of loyalty sated him, and even then only somewhat.

    He had found peace only in the baths, in the lonely moments of rest - and in the raising of his little son Hisham, then but four.

    Languorously, he pushed his hair back and let the water spill through it, as if it could wash away the worries - the fear that the mob exalted another more than him. It couldn't be true, after all. None had opposed him when he came to power. And none would question him now. They couldn't.

    For a time he lay there, lost in his thoughts. They dwelled mostly on the women of his harem, on the riches brought back by the army from Sardinia, on the pleasures of his office, occasionally on the stacks of dinars in the treasury, balanced with such care. His mind wandered, only the soft lap of the steaming water to keep him company.

    A feather-light touch moved across his hair. Abd ar-Rahman let out a low sigh, smiling with contentment. His beloved Habab, no doubt - the mother of his son, the pretty young golden-haired girl he had chosen from the slave market, captivated by the breathtaking green of her eyes. He tilted his head into that soft brush of fingertips as they traced down his cheek, along to the side of his neck.

    And then it occurred to him that this was the men's bathhouse.

    His eyes flew open just as the touch on his neck tightened, choking off his gasp. The glimpse he caught was fleeting - a tall man with long blond hair and hard dark eyes. Ragad, his father's plaything.

    Abd ar-Rahman attempted to force out a protest. It was lost in a gurgle of water as a strong hand gripped his hair and pushed him down. The water swallowed him up. Bubbles poured from his mouth. He thrashed against the strength of the big man, to no avail. Silent, his free hand trapping the Caliph's free arm, Ragad pressed down to the back of Abd ar-Rahman's head.

    He tried to scream. Only a stream of bubbles and a choked gurgle spilled from him. Then again. He threw his weight against Ragad's; the bigger man merely pushed the Caliph's shoulder into the marble and shoved him to the bottom of the pool. His lungs screamed for relief. He couldn't dare to breathe. He couldn't dare.

    He couldn't-- he couldn't dare.

    He must.

    He breathed. The water poured through him.


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

    Now some few weeks had passed since the return of Hayyan from Sardinia when the conspirators against the Caliph began to whisper of their urgency, and they moved swiftly to meet in the shadows, A'isha and Ragad in league with some diverse others whose names are lost to rumour. And A'isha said to Ragad, "I tire of the sight of my accursed brother seeking glory only for himself. The time is nigh to see his end."

    And Ragad said to her, "Truly, say the word, and it shall be done."

    And A'isha said to Ragad, "The word is given; let the days of my accursed brother expire upon the morrow!"

    So blessed in his mission, did Ragad go into the baths of Madinat az-Zahra, and there did encounter the Caliph Abd ar-Rahman, and did force him beneath the waters of the bath until he breathed no more. Now he departed swiftly from that place, and awaited the master of the wardrobe Fatin to chance upon his lord. And the good eunuch did enter the baths, and find the corpse of Abd ar-Rahman floating without life, and he rent his clothes and cried out, "Woe! Woe! The Caliph is dead! The Caliph is dead!"

    Now a lament rose among some number of the court, among the Berbers who had been brought there by Abd ar-Rahman as his personal guard, but among many others, of the old families and of the Saqaliba, there was private rejoicing behind the facades of grief, for few had loved Abd ar-Rahman, and thought him distant and cruel, and unloved he was among those of the nobility. And some in the court proposed to place upon the throne the infant Hisham, the lone son of Abd ar-Rahman, then about five. But these entreaties were put off for a time, and some at the court spoke instead of elevating Hayyan the brother of Abd ar-Rahman, then thought a great hero for his actions in the Sardinian isle. Now the conspirators, A'isha and Ragad, did lay low, and listened to the counsel of those around them, and chose not to speak to their chosen candidate, for fear of revealing themselves.

    Yet that eve went al-Azraq ibn Hisham II to his brother Hayyan, and found him in the deepest mourning, for though the two brothers had never loved Abd ar-Rahman, also did they lament the passage of one of their blood. And al-Azraq said to his brother, "My brother, I have come to understand a great tragedy. For on the morning of this day I, and one of the palace eunuchs with me, did behold Ragad the favourite of our father going even into the baths, and there he took our brother's life, and returned he to the palace and met with none other than our sister A'isha."

    "What is this you say?" bespake Hayyan in horror. "To slay our brother -- how could our sister dream of this?"

    And bespake al-Azraq, "Surely you have understood the coldness with which he treated her, as you and I. Now they should seek to ingratiate themselves to you, and install a caliph of their choosing, and play at the strings of the caliphal power from the shadows."

    And Hayyan was sore wroth, and said to his brother, "Though I had surrendered my ambition to the caliphal power, what would it say of me to allow some murderous conspirator to whisper from the darkness into the ear of a Commander of the Faithful who cannot command?"

    Thus it was that al-Azraq came to the court at the dawning of the day, and spake unto the nobles there, and made passionate cause for the appointment of Hayyan, and said unto them: "Friends, noble men! Let us not be taken in by some conspiracy, or once more grant the greatest power to one who may be manipulated from behind the throne by some regent or protector. We press the jihad against the Sardinian, and lo, the Christian haunts our border, and masses to war against us! Will mighty God send us a mere child when He has already chosen a warrior who will conquer the enemies of our land?" And he placed in nomination the name of Hayyan, and brought forth the eunuch Fatin, the master of the wardrobe, who made claim that Ragad had been the slayer of Abd ar-Rahman.

    A great hue and cry rose from the court, and Ragad was hurled into chains, and his head struck from his shoulders, and A'isha hurled into the gaol. And the greater whole of the noble men of the Andalus cried out as one: "Let it be Hayyan! Let Hayyan defend us!" And with head bowed did Hayyan ascend upon the Caliphal throne of the twenty and first day of the first Jumada of 412,[1] and he took the laqab by which all men would come to know him: al-Muntasir-billah.[2]


    The rush of it all had passed. The nobles had left the throne room, leaving Hayyan al-Muntasir guarded only by the men outside the door, and by al-Azraq, his brother. He fussed with the drape of the caliphal robes. They felt far heavier than they looked, somehow, even after he had given up thought of ever wearing them.

    The spark of anger still burned within him, mixed with an overwhelmed shock. With a sigh and a shaking of his head, curled blonde beard swaying with the movement, he turned away for a moment to look to al-Azraq, the younger man standing beside the dais. "This seems so unbelievable," he muttered. "I would never have thought A'isha to be the sort to do this. And now our brother is dead. How could this happen?"

    In the low light streaming through the windows, al-Azraq lowered his eyelids slightly. Deep shadows danced across the delicate lines of almost delicately beautiful features, pristine behind the pale blond of his beard. Sparks seemed to dance in the icy blue of his eyes. "People are capable of much, my brother," he murmured as he took a slow step forward, silk robes rustling about his limbs. "But that is hardly the issue anymore. Now you are here, and I shall be with you."

    Hayyan felt the beginnings of a frown creasing his face as he looked upon his brother gravely. A thought ate at him.

    "Help me understand this," he said, his deepish voice quieting. "Because I have been thinking about it. How Ragad could ever have gotten into the baths alone with Abd ar-Rahman in the first place, when Fatin should have been with him. And now you tell me Fatin is with you, and saw all of this."

    The younger brother just smiled a small, serene sort of smile. "Are you asking me if I knew?"

    With a sudden scowl, Hayyan strode towards his younger and more brilliant brother with a sudden burst of purpose, and reached out to grasp him by his robes, pulling him brusquely close. "You did know, didn't you? You were part of the plot all along! Is this all some setup? Am I to die next to clear the way for you?"

    The smile on al-Azraq's face didn't so much as waver, his eyes twinkling with suppressed mirth. "Oh, please," he laughed. "I don't want to be Caliph. Our father loved to learn. I'm our father's son. You are the one who inspires everyone, with your charms and your warrior's ways. I'm merely here to help you along."

    "So you did arrange this," Hayyan snarled as a surge of fury begin to build in the pit of his stomach. "You knew, and you wanted this to happen. I ought to throw you in the pit right this instant!"

    "But you shan't," al-Azraq pointed out with an infuriating little smirk. "Because you need me."

    "Surely you jest," Hayyan bit back.

    Unruffled, al-Azraq batted his long lashes across his eyes. "Very well, then, dear Caliph. Do you know exactly how many men we can raise from the junds at any given moment?"

    Hayyan blinked rapidly at the question. He furrowed his brows.

    Al-Azraq pressed on. "Do you know how many dinars are in the royal treasury, and how many will arrive in the span of the year?

    "Do you know how many dinars the average burgher of the cities can spare?

    "Do you know how much grain is needed to feed the city of Córdoba?

    "Do you know how much actual gold is in the coinage these days?

    "Do you know who the present bishops and the rabbis of the dhimmi are, and what their people are saying of you?

    "Do you know what a balanced budget is?"

    Peppered by questions, Hayyan just stared at his brother in utter bafflement.

    The smirk al-Azraq hit him with was equal parts soothing and infuriating. "Exactly," he murmured as he lifted his slender hands to Hayyan's strong ones, and with a delicate touch, released them, and let his soft-shod feet hit the ground with a tap. "I am not here to replace you. You go on forth and command the faithful, great al-Muntasir." He closed his eyes and bow his head. "Go and command, and leave the rest to your trusty hajib."

    "But I haven't appointed one of those," Hayyan managed, suddenly feeling horribly off-balance.

    "You have now," al-Azraq answered with a cheeky laugh.



    [1] February 9, 1021.
    [2] He who triumphs in God. There was an Abbasid caliph of the same moniker.
    [3] Al-Muntasir comes to the throne - through the intrigues of his powerful hajib, al-Azraq - embroiled in a conflict in Sardinia, with Aquitaine-Navarre beginning to come together in the north, and with an uncertain situation sure to crop up in the Maghreb given that al-Mu'izz ibn Ziri was a friend to the slain Abd ar-Rahman IV. We're going to get into that soon enough, but we're also nearly 50 years out from the POD and I've neglected to touch on what's going on elsewhere in the world. Before I go into the al-Muntasir story, I'm going to pull back a bit to take a trip around the Mediterranean and into the North Sea and visit a lot of the areas I've skirted over thus far, among them the Holy Roman Empire, the Fatimids, the Byzantine Empire, the Papacy and Italy more broadly, and possibly Rus' and parts of Africa. Our first stop, however, will be England. Stay tuned.

  15. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2016
    Has no idea
    Poor a'isha will al-azraq try and get here released? Is the sunni shia divide back then as bad as its now? Who do the other sister marry now, that the hijab is blood relations, governors? Isn't the english crown and danish crown combined right now due to cnut the great?
  16. snassni2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2015
    Damn, great update and writing. The andalusi GoT.
  17. Threadmarks: Intermission I Part I: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    Excerpt: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

    Note from Dr. Wolfsson: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, updated until apparently around 1101, is one of the few extant primary sources for the Late Anglo-Saxon Period. It is preserved here with my explanatory notes italicized.

    A.D. 991. This year was Ipswich plundered, and very soon afterwards was Alderman Britnoth slain at Maldon. In this same year[1] did the King Aethelred go unto Rouen to seek the peace with the Duke Richard, at the call of the Bishop of Rome, though the legate of the Bishop arrived but late. Him could not then resolve the enmity between the King and the Duke, and the peace was soon to break.*

    * The Chronicle does not explain why Leo of Trevi, the legate of Pope John XV, arrived late to this meeting. At the time, England was under regular attack by Danish Vikings, who would often seek port in Normandy after making good their raids. But France was also in turmoil, Normandy being one of the few lands to avoid the turmoil of the succession war between Hugh Capet and Charles of Lower Lorraine. However, a fragment of a letter of John XV survives, suggesting that the conflict in northern France made travel difficult for many churchmen. Likely this would have slowed Leo down, and left Aethelred and Richard scowling across the table from each other and waiting days for the legate to arrive.

    A.D. 992. This year did the enemy come to Bristelmestune.[2] Then the King called forth his council and resolved that the enemy should be met with greatest force, and entrapped; and the King placed in command of the land force Earl Thorod, and Bishop Escwy, and Alderman Elfric. And on the day the enemy sailed to Folcanstan[3] did Alderman Elfric sculked away and gave warning to the enemy,[4] and the foe did set upon the land force and slay some number of them before returning to their ships. Then pursued them the ships setting forth from London, though no capture was made, and the enemy sailed away. Then that year, the Alderman Ethelwin departed this life.

    A.D. 993. This year did the King order the son of Alderman Elfric beheaded. Now as well was deceased Oswald the blessed archbishop, and to the sees of York and Worcester was placed Aldulf. Now in this year came Anlaf[5] with three and ninety ships, and Sandwich was plundered, and thence Ipswich, and so Maldon once more, and thence Burnham. Now joining him was Sweyn, and they came up the Thames even to London at the year's end, and set fire and carnage upon the city, and took riches and women from it. Next they took horse, and rode out from London, and put a sword to the land, and grave was the affliction they put upon the peoples. Thus brought the churchmen parley to them, and as the enemy came even to Kent and Sussex, and did the greatest evils upon all whom they met. Now did the stewards of the King go to them, and the King then did give them 20,000 pounds in money and purchased from them the peace, in return for the gold and royal presents, and Anlaf promised that he would not bring forth the havoc to England.*[6]

    * This marks the beginning of the major Danegeld payments by Aethelred. The beleaguered monarch bought himself roughly two years of peace. While some of the Vikings lingered and even took money from the English crown to serve as mercenaries, the fleet continued to scour the coasts in search of plunder.

    A.D. 994. This year died Archbishop Siric; and in his place was chosen Elfric, the Bishop of Wiltshire.[7]

    A.D. 995. This year the warning star danced in the heavens. Soon after its coming did the enemy sail to Devonshire and set it to the torch, and committed great evil there.

    A.D. 996. This year did the enemy continue down the Severn mouth, and came unto Gloucester, and took for themselves the riches and the women, and set the lands to the torch and the blade. Then they returned to the plunder the lands of the Brythons, and returned to set the sword to Poole, and Southampton. There did the armies meet them, and the Bishop Escwy did confront them, and good men were slain on both sides until the enemy returned to the ships and sailed on. Then they landed at the Isle of Wight and were met by the emissaries of the King, who gave to them 15,000 pounds in money, and bade that they leave the land and not return.*

    * Aethelred's second major round of Danegeld is issued. The Viking fleet apparently sailed back to Normandy. At this point it would seem that the fleet's leaders viewed raiding the English as a source of easy gold.

    A.D. 997. This year a great and wondrous fish was seen on the beaches of Northumbria.

    A.D. 998. This year some number of the enemy plundered Ipswich once more. Now the King sent word to the Duke of the Normans and appealed once more for the harbours of his land to be closed to the enemy, and offered him some quantity of gold, but the Duke would not return his letter, and the fleet returned to the ports across the waters. As the year grew late they did return once more and attacked everywhence with the sword and the flame, and took riches and plunder unto themselves from Southampton even to Kent.

    A.D. 999. This year the enemy appeared in London and brought bloodshed and violence to the city, and many lives were lost and much plunder seized. Now the enemy took to horse and plundered the lands of St. Albans, and Colchester too, until the armies of the King came against them, and halted them for a time upon the field. As many men were slain, the enemy returned to the ships and sailed on, and the King bade that all the ships of England be gathered in London, and the army mounted them and sailed to pursue the enemy, and met them at Yarmouth and brought some violence to them, but it could not diminish them greatly, for they would land in Canterbury later and take from it by force. Then did the emissaries of the King reached them, and he gave them some 24,000 pounds in moneys and bade them leave the land be. Also in this year, some preachers out in the lands began to speak in the ravaged villages of the end of the world when the calendar turned to the 1,000th year.

    A.D. 1000. This year the people of Southampton slaughtered all the Danes that were in their lands. So too did the people of London rise against the Danes among them.*

    * Subjected to constant high-pressure raids by the Vikings, and apparently in some cases driven to panic by fears that the world would end with the arrival of the new millennium, sporadic pogroms against Danes seem to have broken out and rapidly intensified.[8]

    A.D. 1001. This year the people of Kent slew all the Danes who lived there. The enemy then sailed to Colchester with ninety and four ships and raised great evil there, and they were met by the thanes of the land, and destroyed some of their number. Now the thanes took some of them prisoner and presented them to the King, and the King ordered that they be riven of their heads before the view of the public, and their heads set upon stakes. So enflamed were the peasants that they rose again against the Danes and slew many of their number, and the King ordered all the Danes to be removed from the land, and that was on the feast day of Saint Symmachus.[9] The burghers of Winchester then slew all the Danes within the city, and the King's retinue slew all the Danes among them, and all men of the land put the Danes to the sword.*

    * The St. Symmachus's Day Riot seems to have started organically, driven by the hysteria of the prior year and the constant onslaughts against the coast. Primary sources are somewhat scant here, but it's evident enough that the pogroms against the Danes were driven at a grassroots level, with King Ethelred swept along with it and finally giving them the royal sanction as though to secure some popularity from it. It's unlikely the massacre could have been carried out across more than a third of the country; particularly in the area that was once called the Danelaw, the long-entrenched Danish population was too large and too powerful for such pogroms to amount to much, and no mass graves of Vikings have been found north of Oksford from this period. Tradition also holds that among the Danes killed in the Riot was Gunnhild, the sister of the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard, but evidence for this is scarce and it must be treated as mythological.

    A.D. 1002. Now this year there was a great catastrophe in the land, for the army came round the Isle of Wight and raised great calamity from Southampton and beyond it, and took much riches for their own and set the villages to the blade. Now the army came against them, and the enemy was led by Sweyne,[10] and slew Edsy, the reve of the King, and some others with them, and many good men perished. Now the enemy took to horses and brought suffering to the villages and punishment. The men of the King gathered the fighting men and formed a great host to battle the foe, and at its head was Alderman Elfric, but he feigned sickness upon sight of the enemy and quit the front of the host, and the men were cast down and slain with great vengeance. When no men were left to stand before him, Sweyne pressed on to Wilton and destroyed it, and then returned to the land where his ships waited. When word returned to the King, he resolved to gather another great host to confront the enemy, for the pounds of gold in his treasury were beginning to become scant.

    A.D. 1003. In this year the King ordered the fighting men of Mercia to march to form a great host, that which he joined with the host of Ulfkytel who was the commander of all the men at the time. Then the enemy came forth from their ships and brought calamity upon Norwich, and on Ipswich. With as many of his men as he could muster did Ulfkytel move to meet them, and when they met in battle near the shores of the Beck there were many men slain, and bodies lay thick upon the field and the blood ran down to the water and stained it a bitter scarlet. Then the enemy did withdraw for a time, and never would they suffer so great a scourging.

    A.D. 1004. In this year a vast murder of crows alighted upon the cathedral of Winchester and sang poems of the Devil, and the Bishop Aelfheah did command that all the crows in the land be accursed and cast out.

    A.D. 1005. In this year did the Bishop Aelfhaeh ascend to the archbishopric at Canterbury upon the death of Aelfric, who fell when the fleet of the Danes returned to Sandwich and brought again the evil to which they were known, and then came unto Canterbury where they put Aelfric to the sword. Then Aelfhaeh was named to succeed him, though he could not go to his see through the vastness of the host of the enemy, the host of Sweyne then upon the land and laying waste to London. Then the King did call all the men of the land and marshal them for war. Soon did the host muster, though many of the men were fearful, and as word of the enemy came to them - for they had sacked and burned all along the Thames, and even turning south now to confront them - then many of the men were given to flight. Though now the cold months came on did the host of Sweyne and the men of the land meet in the hills of Surrey, and the shield-wall was broken, and the good men slain, and many more cast down their shields and fled before the Danes. Then the people of Winchester soon beheld the great host of the enemy approaching, and resolved to battle them, for no more gold could be given in those desperate times.

    A.D. 1006. In this year did the enemy storm Winchester after some raiding without. Some great havoc was raised, and the valiant men of Wessex did raise their swords against the Dane, and the King himself took to horse and made some effort to flee. Then the enemy pulled him from his horse and placed him in irons, and delivered him to Sweyne, and none ever saw King Aethelraed again, and the council fled from the city, and the enemy burned and looted it with abandon. Then the council gathered privily and saw to the coronation of Aethelstan the son of the King. Then King Aethelstan did gather the men and launch some great effort to seize Winchester from the foe, and many a good man of Mercia and Lancaster was pressed into service, and more of Southampton and Wessex, and they confronted the Dane and brought great strife to him. Then they drove the enemy from the city and retook it. But the enemy was not yet broken, and returned in some few weeks and met the host of the King with the greatest calamity. The King with his shield and blade did lead the men, and exhorted them to fight with all their hearts, then within the chaos of the battle he slew a dozen of the men by his own hand. Then the Danes set upon him with spear and blade, and wounded him, and great was the groan of the men as they fled before the calamities of the enemy. Then did Sweyne return to his ships and turn north, and came unto Norwich, and laid it low.

    A.D. 1007. In this year did the fleet of Sweyne sail even up the Humber-mouth, and the lords of the land cowered before him and paid tribute to him. Then the enemy made encampment at Gainsborough, and turned to ravage the lands to the south. Then with some weary host of men did King Aethelstan turn to the north and make time to confront the host of Sweyne, but his men were few, and the men of Sweyne strong and rested. And yet they met at Oxford as the summer came on, and again the few men of the land did bring great chastisement upon the enemy and slew far more than their account, and again did Aethelstan smite some great number of them himself. But too great was the task, and he was set upon by the Dane and struck again and again in the chest and the head by the spear and the axe, and his life reft from him upon the field. Now the host broken, did Sweyne turn towards London once more, and one by one put into submission the lords of the land, though some in the lands of the west continued to conspire against him privily. Now with the submission of the lords and the council did Sweyne return to Gainsborough, and all the people received him with fear, and they considered him the King.[11]

    [1] Everything up to here is a quotation from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The rest of this section adapts the style of the Chronicle but not the content. I toyed with doing this one as a standard history writeup but I'm somewhat enamored with the idea of writing in a way which reflects the style of primary sources.
    [2] Brighton. The peace with Normandy having broken down, the Danes are hitting England out of Norman harbours.
    [3] Folkestone.
    [4] Typo as in the original. Alderman Elfric is still a dirty traitor.
    [5] Olaf Tryggvason, son of the King of Viken, future King of Norway.
    [6] Those Norman harbours allow Olaf to move up his timetable; OTL, the Danes sacked London in 994. Ethelred also pays out about 25% more Danegeld here. The simple butterfly of "one papal legate was late to an important meeting" has led to "more aggressive Vikings."
    [7] Again paraphrasing the Chronicle before getting back to original stuff.
    [8] Ethelred hasn't called for the massacre on St. Brice's Day, but with England subject to an even higher level of Viking raids, the level of fear and deprivation in coastal areas is at a fever pitch. It looks like he could very well lose control of the situation whether he likes it or not. The departure here so far isn't as radical as what we saw in al-Andalus or France. Sometimes, events turn out similarly, even with butterflies. Honestly Ethelred is a pretty good example of how the Great Man theory of history can be deconstructed. Even if the butterflies had somehow mutated into alien space bats and replaced Ethelred with Alexander the Great, the structural factors in play mean that England would still likely be doomed to get eaten by the Danes eventually.
    [9] July 19.
    [10] Sweyn Forkbeard.
    [11] Same result, just quicker: ITTL, Sweyn gains the English crown six years earlier than OTL, giving him time to consolidate. The accelerated timetable had another result: By the time Ethelred would have married Emma of Normandy OTL, the Danes were already swarming all over England, and his relations with the Normans were rotten besides. Not only do we have the Danes in a stronger position in England, we've changed some of the political conditions which might have led to the Norman Conquest. Normandy still has an interest in England, but there's no Norman blood tie in line for the throne right now.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016

    Jan 24, 2010
    The DMV
    I've really enjoyed all these updates I missed -- very lucky for Andalus that the coup against abd al-Rahman went as well as it did.
  19. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

    May 10, 2016
    Land of Rust and Snow
    Glad you're following.

    Averting Almanzor bought al-Andalus another forty years of stability. Even as al-Muntasir comes to the throne, though, he's facing problems. The ethnic imbalance in al-Andalus is still there, and it's likely that he'll have problems with the Berbers given that al-Mu'izz of the Maghreb was close to Abd ar-Rahman. Add that to the fact that Abd ar-Rahman stuck his neck out a bit by going into Sardinia. Al-Muntasir will have some tough problems to cope with when I circle back around to him.
  20. The Dud Well-Known Member

    Mar 29, 2014
    The City of Goodwill
    Planet of Hats likes this.