Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

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

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  1. LunazimHawk Your Friendly Neighborhood Bengal Sultan

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    Cortez and the stories of the other conquistadors sound ASB tbh. I wonder what went through those Berber soldiers minds when they thought about crossing a whole ocean and trying to conquer a relatively unknown people.
    The Islamic Sheikhs coming to the New World will be an interesting asset, I suspect that many of them will find themselves in the courts of the local rulers eventually.
    I’m kind of interested in the Otomi, I never really seen them used in any tl, so this’ll be good.
     
  2. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Probably because pre-Columbian PODs are hard.

    What I really wanted to do is present Mesoamerica accurately. "Mesoamerica is always the Aztecs" is a bit of a fallacy; broadly, the Mexica were just a flash in the pan.
     
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  3. Apares New Member

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    I was following this timeline as a lurker for a long time now. I just wanted to ask you if you ever thought of creating or giving someone the permission to create an alternate history mod for EUIV or Vic II (if we get that far) based on your work, since this timeline is just so fleshed out.

    Also, since we start to get into the 15th century, will we see our first few flags fitting this timeline? I doubt that royal and military standards wouldn't go mainstream in Europe during this age in this timeline as well, just asking if we will see some later on.

    Thanks for giving us your timeline!
     
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  4. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    I wouldn't say no. We're still in CK2's timeframe, too.

    I'm sure a flag or two will present itself. I've given some thought to some of them.
     
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  5. 245 Well-Known Member

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    will we look at India soon? also, will Christian Europe get a slice of the colonization pie?
     
  6. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    I'll look at India someday, but as I've said before, India is just one of those areas that has been tough for me to get a good handle on.

    Christian Europe will do its share of settling, but right now there's a window of Muslim monopoly due to, basically, access and ship tech.
     
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  7. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Remind me, how long did it take between the Andalusians establishing trade links to West Africa and discovering the New World?Just trying to figure out the timeframe in my head.
     
  8. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    It was 46 years between Ibn Tumart's voyage to Tekrur and Al-Mustakshif's voyage to the Farthest West. Another 20 to 22 years have since elapsed.
     
  9. Yama951 Well-Known Member

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    I realized that with the lack of Spain and Portugal to push for colonization, and the seeming lack of a Venice-Ottoman friendship to help foster trade and spread of ideas to the Italian city states and beyond, the European renaissance might be dead on the water.
     
  10. GoulashComrade Huey Newton's Edgier Twin

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    This bit reminded me of the other important night in Islam, which doubtless will be venerated by a good number of Muslims of the New World: Lailat al-Qadr (and more broadly the last ten nights of Ramadan together)

    The Night when God first sent down Qur'anic verses is so important to Muslims that pious folk go so far as to enter a period of prayerful seclusion in mosques called i'tikaf (hi @I'tikaf!) as it is a time when God forgives sins and answers prayers with great ease. Another thing that might work well within existing Mesoamerican high culture. I'll let the Qur'an explain it:

    "Indeed We sent it down
    Within the Night of Glory.

    And how could you have known
    The Night of Glory!

    The Night of Glory does transcend,
    Of months, a thousand.

    The angels and the Spirit,
    By their own Lord’s permission

    Therein come down,
    Concerning every mission;

    Peace shall reign,
    Till break of dawn."
     
  11. I'tikaf Mufti of Rome

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    The interesting thing about Laylat ul-Qadr is that that aside from its date being sometime within the last ten days of Ramadan no-one knows the exact date. Some Ulama speculate the date to be somewhere between the 27th-29th of Ramadan but no one is sure of the exact date.

    Its importance within Islam is profound. In the hadiths it's mentioned that on the day a Host of Angels carry the Throne of Allah (SWT) down unto the Earth. And all the World is in prostate to Allah on that day. It's said that even the most insignificant (at least to human eyes) of creatures acknowledge Allah's Supremacy on that night. And on that night the world is at peace.

    Everyone has a story about it. My mother is adamant that she witnessed the night. She described the leaves on the trees as bent down as if in prostration and that the world was completely still.


    For me it was the middle of the night when I woke up for no apparent reason. It was 03.00 a.m. and it was pitch black. It was as if I was sleep walking, without thinking I stepped into the toilet to take ablution. After I prayed I took the Quran out from underneath the cupboard. And I don't really read it. I've always been lazy about that. But I just had that urge to do so. I read and I read until it was sahur when my mother came out from her room to find me sat upon a prayer mat reciting al-Fatihah; she was very confused. I could see she was debating whether to give me a good scolding (it was a school night) or a hug.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  12. GoulashComrade Huey Newton's Edgier Twin

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    Ain't that the truth - I think most every Muslim has felt the Night some way or another. When my grandfather was in a talkative mood (he was a very taciturn and serious man, for the most part) he would tell a story of his great experience with the Night of Destiny. He was maybe 12 or 13 and helping out on one of the big camel drives where the nomads of Somalia move their herds from grazing lands in the Haud to the ports like Zeila or Berbera. After performing the night prayers, he went to sleep early to wake up for suhur in the morning, but was disturbed by the lack of noise from the camels outside (who usually snuffle and snort and otherwise make various sounds through out the night.) When he went outside to investigate, he found to his great surprise a smallish pack of hyenas bedded down among the camels, all of them mingled in silence. Obviously, camels generally would not brook the presence of such predators in their herd, but my grandfather swore on his life that the power of the Night had bent the rules of nature.

    Now, whether you believe it or see it as an old nomad's tale, I think there's something so profoundly beautiful about Muslims from around the world sharing these stories of a moment in their hearts when the presence of the Divine is so near. The details vary based on the cultural context and everyone feels it in a different way, but there's that underlying theme of serenity ("peace shall reign, till break of dawn.") I wonder what stories of the Night the Muslims from the New World ITTL will add.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  13. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Mesoamerican traditions seem to have a mixed relationship with night. On the one hand, for ex, the Otomi worship a moon goddess as the main figure in a binary pairing with the Old Father. On the other hand, there's all that Aztec stuff about how we have to stop the moon and the stars from eating Huitzilopochtli.

    I've got some interesting ideas percolating. Stay tuned. And don't forget about India and Southeast Asia; we can go there now, too!
     
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  14. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    I'm the only one don't want any of that paganism? or maybe too sunni at times?
     
  15. Dan Yampton Well-Known Member

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    Would the Alcazars look like Alhambra palace more or seville Alcazar?
     
  16. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    They vary depending on the style and resources of the local lords, but the Seville Alcazar is less of a fortress and more of a splendid palatial estate.
     
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  17. Threadmarks: ACT VII Part VIII: The One and Only

    Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    "Advisor, the disease is only getting worse," said Ndä K'eñänjohya.[1] "We have never seen a sickness like this before. What must we do?"

    "Only faith in the One can save the city." said the advisor, not opening his eyes.

    Silence hung over the throne room as the handful of men there stared blankly at the man seated on the colourful mat on the floor. As always, the dark, bearded man named Abdoulaye gave his advice cryptically at first, then with strange preachments. The ways he spoke of had been strange.

    And yet, his insights were keen, and his knowledge of a world far to the east - a world of the dawn - had been valuable. Abdoulaye opened his dark eyes and looked up at K'eñänjohya steadily, no doubt prepared to give more of it.

    "I abridge a little, Ndä, for you do not yet understand the language of the Prophet," he began in his melodiously accented rendition of Hñähñú speech, his chin rising slightly before falling into a tangibly more sonorous cadence - the cadence he always fell into when reciting from the word of his jwä.[2] "They who follow the guidance which comes from their Sustainer - it is they who shall attain a happy state. But there are those who close their hearts to this divine writ. And there are those who say they believe, and do not. And in their hearts is disease, and so God lets their disease increase, and grievous suffering awaits them because of their persistent lying. And when they are told, 'Do not spread corruption on earth,' they answer, 'We are but improving things.' Oh, but truly, it is they who are spreading corruption, but they perceive it not?"

    K'eñänjohya blinked at him.

    "...their telling is that of a people who kindle a fire," the man continued. "But as soon as it is illuminated all around them, God takes away their light and leaves them in utter darkness, wherein they cannot see. Deaf, dumb, blind. And they cannot turn back."

    "...Are you saying that these plagues have been sent because another spirit has stolen the Old Father?" asked one of the priests anxiously, rubbing his forehead with one hand. "How could that be? How could the Old Flame be extinguished? We have given all that has been asked."

    "And yet you are the man we speak of," Abdoulaye intoned with a crescent moon of a smile. The brilliant white of his teeth stood out like a slash against the deep blackness of his face and beard, his dark eyes twinkling like twin moons. "Are you not that, majä?[3] Are there not those who close their hearts? Has the word been false? All of what I have told you since I came from a place far to the east. Has it not been the word of the One? The message spoken by His Prophet? You tell me you raise worship to the Old Father and the Old Mother. And your disease increases."

    The mystic smoothed his hands over his robes. "Because you have heard the Guidance, but you have not understood."

    Moving to sink into a seat, K'eñänjohya pushed one hand through his dark hair, squinting at the advisor seated on the floor at the room's heart. "Are you telling me that we are being punished with disease by this God of yours? That it is some retribution for not hearing the Prophecy?"

    "Understand what I have told you, Ndä. You have lived here long and given thanks to the Moon and the Sun." The mystic lifted his eyes to the ceiling and held his arms out as if to give praise to something. "But, you do not grasp that they are but part of what the Creator has allowed to be. For who was the creator of the heavens and the earth but God? Who appointed the angels? Who placed the jinn upon the earth with you? What is the Old Father but one wrought from smokeless fire? What is Zana but one born out of light? They walk upon this world and you behold them, do you not? But they are as clay. The pots from which you drink - were they simply created? Or did a potter not craft them with his hands? So it is with a Moon, and with a flame. You gaze upon the faces of jinn and you say, 'This is God.' But what you must understand is that there can be no works without a Designer.[4] For who can be higher than the One and Only?" Again he fell into that storytelling cadence. "For He is the cleaver of dawn and has made the night for rest and the Sun and Moon for calculation. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing."[5]

    An eerie silence fell over the chamber. Several pairs of eyes stared at the dark man in wonder.

    A lump had formed in K'eñänjohya's throat sometime during Abdoulaye's speech. The ruler swallowed it heavily, then slouched forward in his seat, his elbows on his knees and his eyes falling to the floor.

    "What must we do to appease the One and Only," he asked after a long pause.


    ~


    Excerpt: First Contact: Muslim Explorers in the Farthest West and the Sudan - Salaheddine Altunisi, Falconbird Press, AD 1999


    By record, the first significant group in Anawak to embrace Islam was the ruling class of Cempoala in 1359. The city lay closest to the Andalusian trading post at Makzan al-Thariya, and its leader, a man in his 20s, is recorded as reciting the shahada along with his entire court in the hopes of forestalling a disease which had befallen his city.

    In general, the spread of Islam in Anawak happened organically, and the most important figures in spreading it were merchants and lone-wolf Sufis and other teachers who roamed beyond the coasts and into the valley itself. Within the Central Isthmian Valleys, it was the Otomi who were most receptive, under pressure as they were from the Tepanecs and their allies. But the spread of the religion is notable in this region because of how rapidly it caught on in certain regions compared to, for example, the southeastern archipelago[6], Persia or even Andalusia itself. Indeed, the closest comparable seems to be the quick uptake of Islam among the Berbers.

    Traditionally, disease is seen as one of the key reasons Islam caught on.

    Central Algarvian High Cultures tended to view disease as originating from three main sources: Magic, displeasure of the gods, and curses involving tlacatecolotl, or sorcerers. Similarly, certain illnesses were associated with certain gods. For instance, the water god Tlaloc was associated with delirium and pneumonia, while the Flower Prince or Tonsured Maize God was associated with boils. The Flayed God, meanwhile, was associated with ailments like scabies. These diseases tended to be interpreted as the consequences of offending that god. The diseases Andalusians brought with them, however, were largely unknown to the people of the Algarves, despite the fact that the Muslims had no idea they were spreading these illnesses and in many cases seem not to have noticed anything amiss.

    With no ingrained immunity, native Algarvians proved highly susceptible to conditions like smallpox, measles, typhoid and other epidemics, and it was not long before a smallpox outbreak swept the Central Isthmus. This outbreak seems to have prompted the conversion of Cempoala. The ruling class there interpreted their diseases as unknown and sought out Muslims, believing themselves to have offended "the Ala." Fragmentary histories suggested that the senior religious scholar at the Makzan recited the Quran to the ruler of Cempoala and soon convinced him and his nobles to outright convert to Islam in order to cleanse themselves.

    This reaction was not the only reaction, though among the Otomi of the Central Valleys, something similar happened: Muslims were viewed in Dähnini/Xaltocan as representing a god the Otomi had offended. It would appear that wandering Sufis were influential in promoting this belief, with one notable Sufi by the name of Abdoulaye al-Siddiq acting as an advisor to K'eñänjohya, the king of the island altepetl. It does not appear that K'eñänjohya converted. However, in 1360 there is a record of a ceremony held in honour of a deity called N'ahahontho, in which the people of the city were ordered by writ of K'eñänjohya to turn to the east at nightfall and chant prayers until dawn, when a huge bonfire was lit and a hummingbird was sacrificed.

    These preachings formed the root of an early conception of Islam among the Otomi in Dähnini/Xaltocan. The existing moon goddess Zana was reinterpreted as an angel, and the Old Father was reinterpreted as a jinn, with both of them sent by a superior all-encompassing embodiment of the universe by the name of N'ahahontho - the One and Only. This early syncretic cult seems to be the origin of the tradition of lighting candles on the night of a full moon, representing the Old Father and Zana as the two greatest servants of God.

    Reactions to Muslim preachers elsewhere were more obscure owing to the paucity of written accounts: Most languages in the Central Isthmus did not have verbal writing systems, instead relying mainly on pictoglyphs as storytelling aids. Much progress has been made in recovering these writings and carvings. In particular, a stone recovered from Azcapotzalco records that in 1360, tlatoani Xiuhtlatonac ordered three Muslim merchants ritually flayed during the month of Tlacaxipehualiztli following an outbreak of disease, giving their skins to the sufferers as part of a symbolic effort to cure the illness. This appears to be consistent with a ritual appeasement of the Flayed God, Xipe Totec.

    While accounts are fragmentary even on the Muslim side, given the decentralized and individual nature of trade contacts with the area, it appears that Muslim merchants considered the Otomi more friendly to Muslims than the Tepanecs. Most trade was conducted with Otomi centres like Dähnini/Xaltocan and Nzi'batha[7], with merchants in the Acolhua centre of Texcoco, and with a handful of other cities, including some who made it to the lands of the Purepecha people. However, Xiuhtlatonac seems to have viewed Muslims as sorcerers associated with curses, and Muslims were viewed with suspicion both by the Tepanecs and by their powerful Caxcan vassals.

    By comparison, Islam was a more difficult sell among the Maya. The harsh geography of Kawania left Mayan city-states largely spread-out and divided from one another, and while individual city-states chafed under the hegemony of Mani, for the most part the region lacked the intensity of political rivalries that took place in Anawak, Kawania apparently being in the midst of a gradual downswing when Muslim traders first arrived. Battles between Maya and kishafa were largely a stalemate, and Sufis seem to have met with interest mainly from the lower classes, with the upper classes maintaining a stricter hold on their religion than their counterparts in the Central Isthmian Valleys.


    [1] ndä is an Otomi word meaning "king" or "master." K'eñänjohya is what happens when I cobble wordlets together but his name is supposed to be roughly "snake peace." He has some quetzal leanings, in other words. I have no idea if this was a real name, but Otomi names have not really survived.
    [2] God.
    [3] Priest.
    [4] Al-Musawwir is one of the names of God.
    [5] Surah Al-An'am 6:96. You may be getting the idea at this point that Abdoulaye is a West African marabout who has learned the Otomi language and caught on as K'eñänjohya's griot. He interprets the Otomi gods as jinns and incorporates their pagan perspective into teaching Islam.
    [6] Southeast Asia.
    [7] Metztitlan.

     
  18. Yama951 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. This implies a continuation of not only High Mayan culture but also the likelihood of greater Mayan influence on future Cawania, especially in the mountainous hinterlands and possibly the survival of the religion at least to the records,
     
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  19. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like the Manupataqis from LoIaM’s beliefs about Christ.
     
  20. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    The Yucatan and the southern Mayan highlands were tough territory for the Spanish, too.

    Campaigning in the Yucatan is not easy, especially since there are no rivers in the north and the amount of surface water is very low. It's hard to farm and harder to feed a huge army on. There's also no central authority to topple that will auto-conquer the entire peninsula. While Mani theoretically has hegemony over the north, in practice it's fairly loose and based more on vague alliances than on any sort of imperial authority, and the other city-states would just shrug and go into business for themselves even if someone walked in tomorrow and converted or conquered the Tutul Xiues. Even if the Andalusians really want to conquer the Yucatan, they'd have to spend decades swallowing it one city at a time, especially since they do not have practical firearms (though they're beginning to creep into use in Andalusia proper, as you may see soon).

    The Andalusians have horses and disease, but they don't have guns, zeal or logistics on their side, and it's frankly more profitable for them to build a town at a key trade bottleneck and then just trade for the riches they want. Lots of people are still going to die, and Islam will undoubtedly still spread into Mayan society, but it probably won't involve a military campaign in the Yucatan.
     
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