No Islam - Effects in 7th & 8th Centuries

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by John Fredrick Parker, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    So this board obviously has a lot of discussion on this general idea, so in large measure we're going over stuff we talked about before; we'll also be going with a pretty standard PoD, where the Ethiopian army reaches Mecca in 570 CE. The twist for this particular thread -- I want us to focus on just the geopolitical implications on the affected civilizations, only as far as 800 CE. So for example:
    • How are the tribes of the Arabian peninsula affected by our PoD?
    • How, in turn, does the Empire of Askum fare in this time?
    • What of the Sassanids; do they last another 150 years or more?
    • And what of the Eastern Roman Empire; do they hold together in this same time?
    • How does the Visigothic Kingdom in Iberia fare during this time?
    • Do the Franks still get their shit together in the 8th Century, or absent the threat of Muslim Spain, do they continue to squabble among themselves?
    • Obviously there's no Muslim Conquest of Transoxiana, and thus no Battle of Talas; does this mean there's no An Lushan Rebellion in China?
    And if there's any other major affected regions I'm not thinking of (again, in the 570 to 800 CE period), let me know.* And with that -- let's do this again.

    *AIUI, Viking Expansion down the Volga was a 9th Century phenomenon, and so falls out of the purview of this thread.
     
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  2. JErosion Well-Known Member

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    without Islam, The Eastern Roman Empire most likely would have kept North Africa, but would most likely lose its Iberian Holdings, along with those islands in the western Mediterranean, they are too distant and Justinian left the empire worse for wear's successors, and once the Germanic and Slavic Migrations hit Italy will follow too.

    Its hard to say how the Visigothic Kingdom will fair, there is little information from the time period, but considering out completely stomped they were by the Muslim conquests the Kingdom was likely fragile. In France/Gaul you'd have the Frankish Kingdoms, locking Horns with the Occitan Duchies in the south. Aquitaine would be able to hold off the Franks better if it wasn't fighting a two front war with the Muslims coming up from the south. Also without Islam, there is little way for the Karlings to gain Hegemony over all of Western Europe, so that means No Holy Roman Empire, and its likely Germans in Northen and Central Germany stay Pagan longer, the same for the Wendish folk along the Baltic.

    Without Islam Christianity would likely have fractured into many different sects, Gothic Tribes had Arianism, Copts were in North Africa, Nestorism had roots in the East.
     
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  3. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    If the Balearic Islands and Southern Iberia were to fall to anyone, wouldn't it be to the Visigoths?
    This is my impression as well; a more politically fractured Western Europe, with nobody in any position to coordinate a response to the migrations, in our period (like the Vendel Age and Slavs) or those to come (the Vikings). Though speaking of which...
    Weren't the Lombards pretty much dominant in Italy, aside from the Byzantines, in the period we're talking about?
    This gets somewhat into religion, though it is still interesting to think of paganism doing better in mainland Europe, and it does open the question of how well the ERE will manage to hold itself together if the church is more rife with factionalism.
     
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  4. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    The Sassanids were in deep crisis, although the butterflies of a 570 POD might alleviate that (it predates the usupartions by Bahram-e Chubin and Vistahm, and just migh avert that through the possible ripple effects of perhaps no Imperial overstretch into Yemen). Assuming minimal butterflies (Yemen still invaded, succession crises and the war with the Romans going like IOTL, etc.) the Empire is probably still screwed. Yazdegerd III just might come out top (although his accession to the throne was linked to the Arab conquest IOTL so without major external menace the squabbling at court post-Khosrow II might intensify) and try to consolidate but the nobles are unlikely to be manegeable, and you might end up with a temporarily divided Eranshahr by mid-seventh century with, say, the Ispahbudhans likely ruling Khurasan, the Mihranids and the Karinids squabbling over Media and Daylam, the Surenids in the Nimruz (Kirman and adjoining areas, and possibly a Sassanid rump in Persia proper. Mesopotamia may be overrun by Arabs even without Islam in this scenario. Armenia would probably regain independence (Mamikonean dynasts? Mihranids?) or be attached to Media.
    This is unlikely to be a stable equilibrium and would probably see either someone reunifying the plateau, either among the local dynasts (not necessarily the Great Clans though; perhaps Mazdakism sees a revival and some revolutionary religious movement brings somebody in power?) or external power such as the Turks or (much less likely) the Khazars.
    Otherwise, a weakened and decentralised Sassanian state might limp on for another while, though the increasing pressure on all sides would made it hard to keep going.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  5. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    I also think that the Romans will have a very hard time keeping control of North Africa west of Tunisia except maybe some small coastal enclaves. One or more Berber states would consolidate and are likely to rise to some prominence. They may even come to overrun Africa proper and Tripolitania in time, if the Romans are busy elsewhere as they will be (Avars, Bulgars, Longobards, Khazars, Arabs, whatever is left of Persia). The ERE is likely to endure (it DID weather the successive storms of Khosrow II's war an the Arab Conquests IOTL, all while facing major Avar and Longobard attacks) but it' still very likely to experience a prolonged period of crisis, which, as noted, may be made more acute by Church division. They'll probably manage to keep Egypt and Syria in the medium term, but it's not going to be easy.

    Arab pressure on the Fertile Crescent will occur regardless of Muhammad, albeit in a much less organized form, as a consequence of population pressure, trading pull factors, and South Arabia being a mess.
    I don't think that the Arabs are going to settle Egypt in any significant way, but they'd gradually establish themselves as thedominant group(s) in most of Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine, as well as spreading somewhat at least into Yemen. Lebanon may be less affected, and Ara presence in the highlands is unlikely to amount to much (even IOTL, the area was conquered but hardly settled by Arabs, except where the garrisons needed to be to confront the Romans or the Khazars; most Arabs in the Plateau went straight to Khorasan where money from the Silk Rod trade and booty from the fight against the Turks awaited).
    Arabic is going to be a lot less codified and uniform in its written form, but I think it will still replace Aramaic in the region in the long run, although th pace would probably be a lot slower. Also, many Arabs are likely to adopt some form of Christianity if they already hadn't, which would likely help Syriac to retain religious an literary prestige longer over larger populations. However, the need to turn increasingly to some of literary Arabic for both trading and evangelization would sooner or later be apparent and some Arabic spoken variety from either Syria, Iraq, or both would emerge as Church language. This, however, may not be more than embryonic by 800 (there's some recently discovered evidence that an incipient Chuch Arabic was developing at both ends of the Peninsula before Islam, but it was really marginal going by what we know now).
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  6. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    A potential winner out of this is the Khazars. They might consolidate and semi-sedentarize earlier, without having to worry about that big juggernaut to their South. Likely to extend influence deeper into Russia, well before the Scandinavian Rus. They'll be a power to be reckoned with, even more than IOTL. Likely conflicting with the ERE and the Bulgars, they may develop good relationship with the Avars as a consequence.
     
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  7. samcster94 Well-Known Member

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    Well, Afghanistan is likely to be Buddhist longer as well. I am no expert, but I don't think it'd hold as Buddhism was already in decline in South Asia by 600 CE.
     
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  8. JErosion Well-Known Member

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    also without Islam, will the Turks hold on to their native religions more closely and bring Tengrism with them into Eastern Europe, or will we see a fusion of Christianity and Tengrism. I know the latter is a Shamanistic but the basics of the religion always struck me as being highly compatible with the Abrahamic religions
     
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  9. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Afghanistan was plenty Buddhist until late eight century, with comunities likely to have survived a lot longer. I don't see many factors of change here absent Islam: Afghan and Central Asian Buddhism would flourish unless some modified form of Tengriism takes hold among some steppe Empire and gets serious abou stomping them out. In the event of a Sassanid collapse, Buddhism might also make inroads into Iran, though it will have trouble there face Mazdean and Christian determined competition (although the Mazdean faith may have trouble keeping going in something resembling a unified form without Imperial patronage, with the Magi dominance being challenged from mny quarters and alternative cults of a Mithraic or Zurvanite bent being likely supported by some dynastic houses at least - not to mention offshoots of Mazdakism, and of course the Manichaeans).
    Iran and Central Asia would be big religious battlegrounds, but I see Buddhism as a major player, particularly if China sees it convenient to sponsor it - it's likely to be the overall hegemonic power in most of the region after all (though not so much in Afghanistan).
     
  10. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    See what I said about the Khazars. They might opt for a "Christianized Tengriism" for about the same reasons they chose to adopt Judaism IOTL (and likely somewhat earlier). Though Judaism may be a competitor anyway, Jewish states may emerge in Arabia or North Africa ITTL (it had already happened but worked out poorly IOTL).
    Either Nestorian Christianity, Buddhism or Manicheanism have good chances among the Turks, but some elements of Tengriism may be retained.
    It's easy to imagine, actually, a Muhammad-analog in the eighth century's Central Asia of this TL, since so many religious currents would be competing there with strong pressures to redefine local and regional identies as Persia is gone and China is a challenge. He may reform Tengriism into something closer to the Late Antique general sensibility and broader appeal, which would require incorporating some Abrahamic-like elements.
     
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  11. Abhakhazia Tsaritsa

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    With a later POD, I could definitely see Arab groups invading and settling Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and maybe even Egypt in a process similar to the Germanic invasion of the West.

    Most likely these groups would adopt tbe Monophysite or Nestorian Christianity of their subjects over time at the very least, although you could see elements of Judaism with some tribes and Zoroastrianism remaining in Mesopotamia.

    I don't think the Arabs could fully take down the Sassanids without the unity that Mohammed provided, and you might see Persia retreat to the Zagros. The Romans are likely to retreat to Anatolia, but I'm not sure exactly what the Roman response to large but disorganized Arab attacks would be. You might see offers for settlement within the Empire, particularly in the Balkans.
     
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  12. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    The Romans may be fine with letting the Arabs settling parts of Syria and Palestine under degrees of Roman suzerainity. Unlikely to go down well in the long run if the foederati in the West are anything to go by, but New Rome is pretty exhausted at this point and these guys provide manpower.
    The Sassanid Empire was proving fairly good at tearing itself apart even without major Arab input, so while the Arabs are not going to conquer much of anything past the Zagros (at least, not for long), Persia may not survive anyway. Mesopotamia is going to be hard (not impossible) to keep, and clearly would be increasingly Arab in population anyway even if the Persian still manage to rule it (or parts of it).
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  13. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    To add to this, Genghis Khan was theorised by some to have been a descendant of Abraham through his wife/concubine Keturah.
    An alt Turkislam that borrows elements from Turkish myths and legends and applies an abrahamic spin like we see with Islam, arabic mythology such as Jinn.
     
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  14. Flavius Phocas Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if I'm so sure they would lose the chunks of Italy at the drop of a hat like that with no Islam. Without any Arab Conquest I think it's pretty safe to say Iconoclasm never happens or atleast not to the extent of our timeline. This would butterfly the Pope's main reasoning for distancing himself from Constantinople. Another reason the Pope distanced himself from Constantinople and allied with the Franks was due to the lack of any tangible Imperial Protection as the Roman armies were busy in Anatolia and the Balkans fending off the Arabs and Slavs. With no Arab Conquests this gives the Roman Empire more breathing room to hold onto it's Italian holdings a bit better than they did historically. The worst case scenario would be either the Emperor or the Pope supporting some non-Iconoclast Christian heresy which would ruin relations and maybe even create a similar situation to the Pope's allegiance to the Franks, although I don't see anything akin to the HRE happening.

    Another geopolitical effect I'm curious about in this scenario is what happens to Tang Dynasty China. During the 7th Century they had expanded extremely far west, making the Turkic Khaganates into autonomous protectorates, which were eventually shattered when the Arabs showed up. Makes me wonder how long they would be able to hold onto their western protectorates and what effect this would have on the region.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  15. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    The main problem for the Eastern Romans in Italy however were the Longobards, whose arrival predate the POD. The Roman Army would still be busy primarily in the Balkans and the East ITTL, and Africa would be about as problematic militarily (though parts of it would be held longer I think). A better ERE performance in Italy is possible (they kept the South into the mide eleventh century IOTL, no reason to think they can't do that in the slightly more favorable situation of this TL). The Pope will still come to resent Byzantine power, but alliance with the Franks is unlikely to occur as early as IOTL (if ever).
    The Tang are going to be the dominant player in Central Asia through the eighth century ITTL in all likelyhood, with their reach possibly getting, nominally, to the Caspian. Not that they would bother much to enforce any autority that far, but perhaps we'll see a "Pax Sinica" East of Iran somewhat resembling the Mongol peak (but less far-reaching: control of the steppes is always going to be a bit problematic).
     
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  16. Flavius Phocas Well-Known Member

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    Well that's kind of my point though, the Empire managed to hold onto it's central Italian holdings all the way until the mid-8th Century in our timeline, so in this slightly more favourable timeline I'd see no reason for them to lose it quicker or at the same time. The Lombards were after all extremely decentralized, and with a slight Roman presence in Italy I don't see them making too much of a realistic dent on the Exarchate unless some other power takes over Italy or the Lombards are blessed with some amazing Charlemagne level King because butterflies.
     
  17. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough. I expect Italy going roughly as IOTL until the point the Franks got involved ITTL. That was about when, historically, the Longobards came closest to overrun the Exarchate (most of it). It will longer to the Longobards to get there, and the Franks are a lot less likely to be involved (they would probably focus on Germany or Spain if united enough).
     
  18. Aqua817 The Means of Production

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    I could see the Coptic Church (AKA the Oriental Orthodox church) becoming the "mainstream" church as opposed to Chalcedonianism. It had a massive missionary push, and large influence in the Byzantine Empire and in North Africa. If the Byzantines went Coptic, then it would also be advantageous for European nations besieged by Arians to convert to Coptic Christianity.

    To be fair, none of this combats the overpopulation of Arabia. Christianity was far more powerful in Arabia than Zoroastrianism, so I could see Christianized Arabs wreaking havoc on the Persians. Plus, this could reestablish contact with the Church of the East, which would mean a stronger Christian Church in India, which would be interesting indeed.
     
  19. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    Just to be clear -- we've got a fairly recent thread focusing on the global religious implications of No Islam; I'm hoping this thread looks more at general imperial strengths, economics, demographics, etc. So while the Arabs, Turks, Khazars et el migrating are right on point, their choice of religion TTL is more tangential. Am I making sense, and does this work for everyone?
     
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  20. B-29_Bomber General Putnam, United States Space Command

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    Agreed about Iberia (though they may hold some enclaves on the coast), however, I disagree about the Western islands. In OTL the Romans were able to hold on to them through the 8th century. In TTL there is no viable rival to the Romans with no Caliphate. The Visigoths are falling to chaos with a number of Visigothic successor states coming out of it by the end of the period in question. The Franks are fighting among themselves and likely didn't take them OTL anyway, there's literally no one who'd be able to do it.

    The way I see it, OTL Bulgaria and most of Illyria falls to the Slavs as OTL, however, the Romans are able to maintain control over most of Greece by the end of the 8th century.

    Italy is self-explanatory as Italy has been a clusterfuck since the late 6th century, however, they would be able to maintain a some semblance of control, better than OTL.

    By the 10th century the Roman Empire will be in a position to reconquer lost territories in the Balkans and Italy and the High Middle Ages in TTL will be a story of the Romans restoring order over the West in some fashion.

    Indeed, in this ALT I see Roman history being divided into five distinct periods:

    509-44 BC- The Republican Era
    44 BC-285 AD- The First Latin Empire Era (contains the Crisis of the Third Century)
    285-565 AD- The divided Era (includes the Fall of the West)
    (All above is OTL)
    565-11th Century- The Greek Empire Era (Includes the Crisis of the 7th Century(565-711), and the Long Recovery (711-954))
    11th Century-Undetermined- The Second Latin Empire Era (During this era, due to the reconquest of the West and recovery of the West economically the Latins begin to dominate the Empire once more)


    Indeed, Europe and Rome's history begins to look much like that of East Asia and China's history, with distinct eras where different cultural groups control the Empire and the Imperial Territory ebbed and flowed. You could argue whether or not the Romans reconquer Northern Gaul or even conquer into Germania, I'm open to both. However, I'm pretty certain that Britannia would remain independent regardless.
     
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