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. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    In the west im going post del torro. Also in the east none of these battle are still akin to a manzikert or hastings. Also where in middle medieval times this is the time of big battles. I think you misunderstand im not saying can we have more battles but rather more decisive battles (epic battles is the better word), leaders dying battles that decide everything merchant republics did not collapse in that naval defeat did they.
     
  2. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    The biggest decisive battle I can think of in recent history was in 1322, during the War of the Five Flowers, when Geoffrey the Bastard trounced his military rivals to gain the throne of France, only to be killed in battle five years later by his rebel dukes and for his heirs to be abruptly shanked and overthrown by the Count of Poitou. There were a bunch of battles like this during the War of the Five Flowers that I've glossed over, and probably a decisive battle or two took place in the various fights between Angland and Denmark over Norway.

    I suppose I'll have to make more note of them, if that's what you like.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  3. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Again thats campaign not a battle. Battle of bosworth field was a battle not a campaign after this tudors won both kings guards fought each other. Saladin at hatin destroyed the back of crusaders meaning kingdom of Jerusalem could do nothing he had no major opposition armies left to fight. You again just naming campaigns not.

    Did any battle you named have armies in the double digits of thousands where the majority die. Was any battle in the war of the five flowers that was a towton esq battle in which 28,000 died and most of the commanders.

    When people think of battle of Crécy they think of the battle not the campaign they dont think of Chevauchée of Edward III. Same with agincourt.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  4. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Campaigns do, in fact, include individual battles. There was probably a massive bloody battle or two involved in the War of Five Flowers. In fact, there definitely was. Again, a lot of these are out of focus somewhat because I made a call awhile back to try and speed things along more. If I tried to plot out every last battle in every war, I'd lose my mind and we'd still be somewhere in the year 1075.
     
  5. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    @Planet of Hats

    Speaking of battles and large campaigns, have new military technologies diffused throughout Eurasia? Better armor? Better metallurgical techniques? I think it would be cool for Al-Andalus to learn the techniques in producing Damascus Steel. Maybe the production of Damascus Steel and other lost techniques(e.g. Greek Fire) might survive to present day in TTL. Just putting some ideas out there.
     
  6. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Yes, armour technology and metallurgy have gradually improved. They're coming primarily from the east and through North Africa - the Way of Saint Sergius brought some Chinese war tech into Eastern Europe, for ex, and the Altai Taban Horde has also contributed to opening the western part of Eurasia up to Song-style military tech. Damascus steel probably hasn't diffused, but I'm working on a post right now which will touch on the improving quality of Andalusian armour and weapons.
     
  7. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious to know that when the Andalusis become exposed to these new technologies and processes, will they become innovators and developers of new military technology themselves? Fire lances aka Andalusi rockets/firearms?


    EDIT: I just realized that fire lances were already a thing in 10th century China and that they did spread all across Eurasia over within one and a half to two centuries.

    see Wikipedia's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_lance

    Nonetheless, I still wonder if Al-Andalus becomes known as a place that spearheads technological and scientific advancement throughout the world ?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  8. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to go into detail just state there was a massive battle. Also when you do cover war you tend to go for enemy take forever to kill were decisively defeated allowing x to swallow their kingdom.

    EG fall of greece proper can be like the emperor he rallied all the remaining roman forces at Corinth (you can give a number or not) 60,000 roman strong army. Muslim byzantine marched out to face this threat with 50,000 at the battle of thebes the roman army would be destroyed killing the emperor and most of the remaining roman commanders leaving greece defenceless and falling within the year.

    So far most conquest in your tl are like years of warfare, raids with muslim byzantine has left rome weak eventually falling leaving only cyprus left.

    Btw this not me being a dick but most of your wars sound like someone being killed with a spoon they take forever and the enemy are worn down to death. While we have had no knock out wars. Medieval wars were alot of the time decided by big battles when they happened, they were not common but when they did happen they were important.
     
  9. SenatorErnesto Well-Known Member

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    But why? Why does that explanation work for the fall of Byzantium in this TL?

    Just because a couple of medieval wars were decided in one massive battle in OTL doesn’t mean they have to in this timeline.

    If anything the current progression of how conquests, campaigns, and warfare are conducted in this TL are much more realistic than our romanticized history and fascination over the couple of big name battles in OTL.

    Medieval logistics in at least Western Europe lead to more small scale numbers with raiding campaigns and who knows there could be countless cool battles but as Planet said he doesn’t have the time nor focus to talk about them.

    As per me, I’ve loved the detail in the campaigns especially in the Spanish marches and the French ducal wars.
     
  10. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    just an example not actually meant to be for Byzantine of where most conflict right now in this tl is happening Muslim Byzantine just conquered epirus and greece proper thats the place you would find big armies the other place would be the north sea but those are sea battles. Also its an example Normandos are not marching 30,000 strong armies against native iberian rebels now are they?

    Just asking for some variety when it comes to the war parts. Also if its a massive battle theres a high chance its an important war. Also im not asking for all but now your refusing to recognise they exist i never stated all battles just that can we have some.

    But this doesn't change the fact they happened and that when they did they had major impact now does it are you trying to say hasting, hattin etc are ASB now. Battle of Bosworth field literally ended a war, because the other king died that wasn't romanticized that he died did he? what about Manzikert was it made up that Bzyantine emperor was captured?

    Im not asking for in details of battle but when he talks about warfare/kingdoms being conquered its them being worndown and slowly succumbing, im just asking for bit a variety as kingdoms and wars have been decided by single battles especially important wars.

    Im not against campaigns i just want a bit of variety not every to be a game of thrones battle just recognise they hattin, crecy, Towton are a thing and do exist.

    @Planet of Hats btw side question whats happened with the catholic greeks? in part you talk about Muslim Byzantine Orthodox head was brought back to Constantinople are they being forced back to become orthodox again?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  11. Yama951 Well-Known Member

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    I am curious if Al-Andalus would end up gaining enough coordination to end up uniting Iberia under their rule later on, annexing the Galician territory but they would be a lot more resistant compared to the assimilated Andalusians.
     
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  12. SenatorErnesto Well-Known Member

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    @haider najib

    I’m not saying none of your points are valid, especially when it comes to things like Hastings, Stamford Bridge, Manzikert. All arguably some of the most important battles in history.

    I’m saying in this timeline it hasn’t happened and I don’t see the need for them to happen if the trajectory of the TL doesn’t need them too.

    The Andalusian leaders do not lead from the front giving way to any possibility of those key battles where the leader falls and the nations crumbles instantly to happen.

    Not to mention the epic battles are romanticized and over rated completely. They’re important and fun but it’s always, always more than the battle.

    After Manzikert the Empire didn’t instantly die it hung out in a CENTURIES long struggle of survival.

    And after Hastings William the Bastard still had to put down rebellions.

    Those battles only capture our historical imagination cause now centuries later they’re fun to look at and easy to pinpoint as turning points in broad sweeps of change in the historical records.

    I hear your wants, and it’s okay to ask the writer for some more variety and to show examples but in the end it’s their piece, I’d enjoy some epic scale battles and fun yes but I don’t need them to still immensely enjoy this TL. No to mention we still have the wars of the New World to really give us some war spice.
     
  13. Threadmarks: ACT VII Part XI: War and the 14th Century

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    Excerpt: 14: The Century That Changed Everything - Christian Saldmare, Dragon's Hill Press, AD 2002


    Ibn Al-Najjar had found the Central Algarvian Valley civilizations in 1357. It took scarcely a decade for even the passive touch of Andalusian presence to throw the entire region into chaos.

    The effects of virgin-field diseases were devastating for the Otomi and Nahua-speaking peoples of the valley complex, driving various city-states into various reactions: The Otomi began to dabble in Islam, while the Tepanecs dismissed the Muslims as foreign sorcerers.

    The harshest reaction, however, came from the Caxcan, recent arrivals who had settled to the south of the Great Lake and founded the altepetl of Teocaltillitzin. They had brought their god with them - a sun god they referred to simply as Theotl, likely analogous to the diseased sun god Nanahuatzin and the more obscure northern Chichimeca deity Huitzilopochtli. Speakers of Nahuatl, the Caxcan were notably more fervent in their religious practices than their neighbours, and they responded to the arrival of New World diseases by assuming they were the result of insufficient piety in the form of sacrifices to strengthen the sun god and forestall the end of the world.

    As cities throughout the valley struggled with illness, relations between the Tepanecs and their Caxcan tributaries broke down. The Caxcan leader, Tonatiuhtlacati,[1] had given his daughter in marriage to the brother of the Tepanec ruler, Xiuhtlatonac. When news came down in 1363 that the illness had killed her, Tonatiuhtlacati furiously denounced Xiuhtlatonac for being so weak of faith to allow disease to punish his daughter. The Caxcan refused to continue paying tribute to the Tepanecs. Calculating as ever, Xiuhtlatonac responded by capturing 200 Caxcanes and sacrificing them all as a display of piety. Enflamed by the gesture, the Caxcanes geared up for war, and Xiuhtlatonac mobilized the Tepanec military and its tributaries against its angry vassals.

    War among the Nahua took heat off the Otomi to the north. The cult of N'ahahontho continued to spread among the Otomi and the north end of the lake, though it would be followed by the more prominently-situated arrival of mainline Maliki Islam. In Dähnini, K'eñänjohya died in 1363, succumbing to smallpox. His son, the 22-year-old Hñunxuni,[2] acceded in 1365 to the approaches of the scholar Abd al-Qadir al-Mufassir and recited the Shahada along with his court, adopting the name Abdullah ibn K'eñänjohya al-Otomi.[2]

    The decision to convert to Islam came in part to give the Otomi in Dähnini access to what help the Muslims could provide. In 1364, an attack on the island city by Nahua-speakers from Cuauhtitlan was repelled with help from a cadre of 50 mounted Berbers, likely part of the garrison from Makzan al-Thariya. No one in the Central Valley complex had access to horses or steel weapons and armour, and mounted Berbers were more than they could handle, along with the support of crossbowmen on foot. Conversion gave Abdullah Hñunxuni friendlier relations with the Muslims and the ability to buy in mercenaries who were impervious to the strange diseases, and it allowed him to buy steel weapons for his own men and even explore equipping some of his troops with horses. While these numbers were not large, they combined with the island position of his city-state to give Abdullah Hñunxuni a strategic edge - and converting also convinced many of his subjects that he was working to appease the strange god which had sent the sicknesses in the first place.

    The war between the Tepanecs and the Caxcanes, at least, ensured the Otomi's position for the time being. Cuauhtitlan itself could not defeat the Otomi stronghold, and its Tepanec allies were busy and likely to be ground down somewhat. As more and more able-bodied men died, it became harder for individual city-states to project power - and with the Otomi already in a defensive crouch, they were better prepared to withstand than Tepanecs, for whom tribute and hegemony were critical.

    Only the brilliance and ruthlessness of Xiuhtlatonac held the Tepanec tributary network together. By 1369, he had dealt a crushing defeat to the Caxcanes, defeating their armies and outright sacrificing Tonatiuhtlacati before a massive fire ceremony in Azcapotzalco. The victory cowed the grumbling and misery among the Tepanec tributaries - but it did nothing to slow the brutal toll of epidemic disease.

    The Otomi received another benefit: An influx of Muslim conversos. While the numbers of converts were not great at first, the city gained a few hundred people as early dabblers in Islam - and those accused falsely of sorcery and spreading plague - fled persecution by the Caxcanes and Tepanecs, finding relief in Dähnini. Others would flee north, to the Otomi city of Nzi'batha/Metztitlan.


    ~


    Back in the Old World, meanwhile, the continent had largely rebounded from the Great Plague 150 years prior, leaving nations and kingdoms better able to mobilize - and increasing pressure for expansion. Nowhere was this more clear than in the Haemus, where Bataid advancement into southern Europe increasingly placed core kingdoms under threat.

    Hungary had long served as Europe's eastern bulwark, holding dominion over both the Carpathian basin and Croatia. That dominion was challenged beginning in the 1350s as the Bataids of Rumaniyah began to push harder against Christian strongholds in their northwest. The reign of Al-Mansour the Great (1303 - 1335) saw the Bataids crush the Roman remnant in Greece. The most pivotal battle in that campaign was the Battle of Orchomenus, around July 7, 1324. It took place northwest of Athens, where 40,000 Bataid troops confronted a similar number of forces allied with the Romans - in fact a Greek core bolstered by Cuman, Epirote and Italian mercenaries. Al-Mansour himself led the Rumani forces onto the field, opposed by forces led by Emperor Stylianos II Vlastos and the Normano-Epirote leader Simon of Durres.

    The battle was one of the largest in centuries in the western Supercontinent, and certainly the largest since the Great Plague west of the Steppes. While both forces could bring similar numbers to bear, the Rumani forces were better-led, with Al-Mansour himself being recognized as one of the greatest military leaders of his time and his commanders chosen from a multicultural selection of Patzinaks, Anatolian Turkmens and Islamic conversos of Greek and Bulgarian heritage. The Rumani cavalry were similarly more versatile and better-trained, bolstered by several thousand Cumans as well. Personally leading a cavalry charge at a decisive point in the battle, Al-Mansour managed to break the will of the Cumans, many of whom fled or defected, leaving the Roman core unprotected. Stylianos himself was unhorsed and lost in the shuffle before having his head severed by an Anatolian soldier, one Mahmud ibn Rashim[3] of Iconium.

    The death of Stylianos and the capture of his son Christophoros triggered a general rout. The Epirotes quickly withdrew after suffering severe casualties, leaving the Greeks to bear the brunt of the attack by the Rumani cavalry. The battle left fully 25,000 of the Roman host dead to less than 12,000 of the Rumani, with many of the Roman survivors coming from the mercenaries or Epirote faction - units unlikely to be able to defend Hellas.

    The Battle of Orchomenus marked the end of even the rump Roman Empire. By the end of August, Athens was in Al-Mansour's hands, and by the year's end the cities of Morea had surrendered to the Muslims. The Romans simply had nothing left to defend themselves with. The battle similarly left the Epirotes weakened, and in subsequent years Rumaniyah would simply steamroll them before pushing into Sirmium. By the end of his reign, Rumaniyah had swallowed Hellas, Epirus, Sirmium and most of Armenia.

    The death of Al-Mansour in 1335 brought his son Al-Mansour II to the throne. While less of a martial man than his father, he was able to resist a concerted attack from the Papacy, Venice, Hungary and the Knights of Saint Stephen, turning them back at the Battle of Trauvunija in 1336 and a series of smaller skirmishes. But Al-Mansour II did not engage in a vast campaign of his own, obligated instead to spend several years suppressing Greek and Sirmian rebellions in the Haemus and clashing with the rising Mezinids over the bones of Van.

    Al-Mansour II died in 1347 without an adult male heir, and his infant son Suleiman was overthrown within a year by his regent, Al-Mansour's brother, Abdullah Aslan - a ruler infamous in Christian histories.

    It was under Abdullah Arslan that the Bataid threat crystallized in the minds of Europe. In 1355, the Bataids launched a massive push for Croatia, waging a series of battles over three years. The conflict reached a decisive culmination in 1359, at the Battle of Bihac, in which a Hungarian-Italian army of 30,000 was soundly crushed by 25,000 Bataids, including 8,000 Cumans (Cumans in fact fought on both sides of most conflicts at the time). The defeat, in which Hungarian Prince Gaspar was captured, forced Hungary to withdraw from Croatia, ceding the Bataids a swath of Adriatic coast up to Fiume and inland to Agram.[4]

    Long accustomed to focusing on its own affairs, the Holy Roman Empire began around this time to view the advancing Bataids with increasing alarm: Not only had the Muslims consolidated in the former Roman Empire, but they were devouring Hungary and within striking distance of the Osterreich. Raids by Anatolian Turkmens into German and Italian territory began to step up in this period, exposing the underbelly of Christendom to the predation of Rumaniyah. Without the shield of the Havasok Mountains[5], the Bataids had the ability to strike into the heart of Hungary and raid up the Danube into German territory itself.

    Into the 1360s, the conflict was carried out in the form of back-and-forth raids, many on the Christian side led by the Church Knights. Gradec was sacked by Rumani forces in 1364, while Venetian ships carrying French and German mercenaries captured Zadar in 1368, which they would hold for several years.


    ~


    Al-Andalus was by no means immune to the tides of war, and while Husayn is well-remembered as the Hajib who led his polity to discover the Gharb al-Aqsa, he's also notable for being the leader who reversed the steady decline in Andalusian territorial fortunes which had been going on for centuries. The profits from new trade routes in gold, spice, sugar and Indian goods flooded Husayn's treasury with revenue, and while much of it went to infrastructure, a large part of it went to one of the most important consequences of his reign: An overall improvement in the quality, training and manpower of the army.

    The quality of Andalusian metallurgy had steadily increased with the advent of new technologies, particularly the advent of blast furnaces and waterwheel-powered forges almost a century before. But with more revenue on hand, the Caliphal administration could afford to purchase equipment which made the most of refinements to the technology. The Saqaliba and Black Guard fighters of the time were equipped with higher-quality iron equipment. Andalusian weapons and armour tended to be more durable and easier to produce than comparable European versions, resulting in more Andalusian troops with high-quality equipment and more reliable weapons.

    The mailshirt-wearing Saqaliba of past centuries had given way to Black Guardsmen, Saqaliba and elite Andalusians wearing breastplates and armour skirts, while horse armour increasingly began to incorporate plate. Helmets gradually extended further down the cheeks to better protect the face. The increased weight of the armour saw Andalusian cavalry transition away from the riding of mares towards larger, stronger stallions, noisier but better able to carry the weight of an armoured soldier. While armour would never quite reach the level of full plate favoured by the French and Germans, the Andalusians of the 14th century went into battle much better protected than their forebears, riding powerful Andalusian warhorses that tended to be larger and more muscular than those of their neighbours.

    These advantages became clear in the 1360s, when the elderly Husayn, then around 70, faced off against his northern neighbours once more. An attack by the Knights of Saint James saw Santiagonian troops sack the outskirts of Batalyaws in 1365. The elderly Hajib gathered his men and launched a punitive campaign northward.

    The ensuing campaign would demonstrate the advantages of Andalusian equipment and horsemanship. While the Church Knights could equal the Andalusians in skill, Andalusian equipment and horses were more advanced and more numerous, and the real advantages came in the better quality of weapons and armour carried by the standard Andalusian soldier. This was best demonstrated in 1368, at the Battle of Almeida.

    The battle saw an Andalusian army of 15,000, led by Husayn's son Abd al-Qadir, ambushed by Headmaster Alfonso de Vilalba of the Knights of Saint James, leading 20,000 Christians with the Knights at the head. Alfonso was able to catch the Muslims by surprise and attack the Andalusian flank, composed mostly of regulars from the new junds. However, despite being mostly on foot and outclassed in training, the regulars managed to hold and fight back with crossbows. The flank took losses but did not collapse, enabling Abd al-Qadir to lead his cavalry around to attack a surprised Alfonso and inflict losses of his own. The reversal forced Alfonso to regroup, leading to a battle in which the Knights of Saint James and their Santiagonian cavalry allies basically neutralized the Saqaliba and Black Guard - leaving the fight to be decided by the Andalusian regulars, who largely had better equipment than their Christian counterparts and inflicted casualties at a rate of about two to one. The Christians were forced to pull back, their rear savaged by pursuing Berber cavalry for two more days.

    Bloodied by the battle, Abd al-Qadir quickly took advantage. The Christians were unable to reinforce several cities, and the Andalusians swept north to capture Porto. Braga was soon besieged, falling the next year, and the Andalusians settled in.

    The gain of land west of the Duero and as far north as Braga represented a reversal in Andalusia's fortunes: Long pushed back in western Iberia, the battle marked the reclamation of land which had been lost over past centuries. Santiago was again forced to pay tribute, enflaming existing tensions within the kingdom, while Andalusia entered the next decade with the wind in her sails even as the aging Husayn advanced into the waning years of his life.


    [1] "Sun-born"
    [2] "Three hawks."
    [3] Muhammad son of Erasmus.
    [4] Rijeka and Zagreb.
    [5] The Carpathians.


     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  14. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    Hope those are good news and Andalusia can conquer the whole peninsula forever..as people say, europe finish at pyrennes so let it be.

    Nice what is going in new world/mexico too.
     
  15. haider najib Well-Known Member

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    Jesus that was alot of success for Andalusia.

    Why take land i thought the normal reason given was its hard to hold also support more rivals in the north to fuck with the north.

    Btw how does muslim byzantine society/ politics work? They seem really stable and strong for a society that really shouldn't have many muslims? How can they even launch an offensive?
     
  16. snassni2 Well-Known Member

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    Are the andalusian cities now connected through roman style highways? Also how is sanitation in the cities?
     
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  17. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    How assimilated are the Ruling classes of Anatolia/Greece? Theyve been in charge for a few centuries now. Do they even speak anything other than Greek with a bit of Turkish and Persian loan words?

    More important, who claims baklava?
     
  18. Timeline Junkie Well-Known Member

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    I don't want to sound misinformed, but it seems this world is advancing at a greater rate scientifically and technological rate than in OTL. Am I wrong in assuming this? @Planet of Hats

    Nonetheless, I would like to speculate that a current date in the timeline and in the future this world might take longer to develop other things?

    Another great update, by the way!
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  19. inawarminister Well-Known Member

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    Why not? Andalusia is really rich now, and unlike OTL Iberian kingdoms, they aren't sending (lots of) soldiers abroad to conquer native kingdoms and spice ports for now. Hell, if Frenchmen continue to focus on murdering each other and the Germanoitalians look Southeast to the Rumanians, I won't doubt that there's a high chance of Andalusians reclaiming the North, as Nivek said: Europe ends at the Pyrenees then. If the Andalusians equip their infantrymen with pikes soon, it's going to be hard for Santiagans to compete with their manpower tbh.

    Also, is it just me or are the Rumaniyahs seem to use Greek-style infantry there? Really unlike OTL Ottoman practise of Azap, Janissary, and Sipahis? They look really interesting...
     
  20. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    Yeah plus those kingdom rather good neighboor they harbor enemies for the andalusian, meaning long term they're a problem, better how conquest and unify the peninsula and the rest of europe will not care.
     
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