The Amalingian Empire: The Story of the Gothic-Roman Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by DanMcCollum, May 30, 2011.

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  1. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Now I'm interested in how early your textbook thought the Nibleungenleid was written! :)

    I mean, it was certainly based on much older traditions and stories, but it wasn't compiled until the era of Courtly Romance (and the character of Sigfriend/Sigurd actually seems to be a later creation - or, at least his association with Dragon Slaying and the Nordic Volsung cycle. Beowulf actually attributes the dragon-slaying is Sigmund and so that might be the older rendition of the tale)
     
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  2. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Mid eight century. For the written recension. Yes, really.
    I was somewhat perplexed myself when I read that in high school, but I trusted it. Of course, when thinking historically about the actual content of the Lied and its structure (let alone language), with all I know now, I should have realized. But I had never really thought about that incongruity until today.
    My hypothesis is that the textbook author (who is a well-known and respected philologist, but no Germanist) somehow got confused with Beowulf, and the confusion stuck through proofreading.
     
  3. LordCalner Well-Known Member

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    While they are recovering will they be dealing with the chalcedonian/monophysite argument still or will we se a sort of United eastern church in response to the wests arianism?

    Maybe an attempts to "restore order" or something along those lines?
     
  4. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    That could well be it; but he could have been referring to when we first start seeing evidence of the stories that would become the Nibleungenleid? That's an odd mistake to make; especially from a respected scholar who would have had (I hope) an editor. But mistakes slip through in the best scholarship sometimes, especially when someone is writing from outside of their field (I once read a respected Theologian who somehow made the mistake of thinking that Ulfila's Bible was the earliest Christian writing in German. The work was meant to be popular and in the case of the author, this seemed to mean "write really simplistic for the rubes reading this" and coupled with that mistake I set the book aside and never returned).
     
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  5. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Also very good questions! I can say that the Monophysite and Chalcedonian issues will be delved into in a future chapter; I've long wanted to do a chapter or two dealing with religious developments as they are so important to this era and the peoples involved. I just need to find some good sources so I can convince myself that I know what I'm talking about, and some of these topics have rather sparse scholarship, at least through the avenues I was initially looking (I'm looking at YOU Arianism! Though now that I once again have access to JSTOR and know my way around different library databases, I should have much more luck).

    I will say that, at least for the foreseeable future, the stresses put upon the *Catholic Church in the West by Arianism being the faith of the Emperor and Goths is going to lessen the split between Eastern and Western Roman Christianity.
     
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  6. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps. Still slightly off.
    And yeah, mistakes have odd ways to slip through. I recently re-checked an academic book I contributed to years ago, and I noticed that I had a date wrong by three years (it was the year a Latin translation of an Arabic book was printed). It would have been easy to fix, had I been more careful with checks at the time. (I my case, there was basically no editor, and that particular point was supposed to be in my area of expertise anyway).
     
  7. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    And there goes your reputation and credentials ;) Nah, mistakes happen to the best of us in any case. I think I've asked you this before, but your main focus in history is Arabic and Middle Eastern, correct?
     
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  8. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am supposed to be an intellectual historian of Medieval Muslim political thought (mostly philosophy, some law), with side dishes of philology/linguistics, Arabic literature (both Medieval and, more spottily, modern), and some history of identities.
     
  9. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    That's what I thought! Personally, I'm a late 19th-early 20th century Americanist. But, as I think is evident, I have a love of Medieval Studies and sometimes think I missed my true calling by not becoming a Medievalist, focusing on the Late Antiquity/Early Medieval period; but there are some benefits to being an amateur, I suppose :)
     
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  10. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    I am a great fan of longue durée approaches, so maybe your love for Medieval stuff adds depth to you work on more modern things?
    And yes, it is very evident.
     
  11. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    You know, that's a good point. I guess I've never really given too much thought to how my love of Medieval history influences my approach to modern history; but I suspect its there. That's something to give some thought to. I know it has certainly influenced by world view and definitely my artist endeavors - I didn't start writing modern alliterative verse poetry out of nowhere after all (and I seem to have developed some knack for it, too! Turns out the themes of heroic Germanic verse translate just fine to the modern world, if molded correctly. And if it makes every party my friends and I have ever been so sound like a major battle or raid - all the better :D )
     
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  12. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    While I enjoy these mythical updates I'm still looking forward to the timeline returning to covering the "real" history.
     
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  13. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    No worries at all, for you are in luck - the next post will be firmly planted in the history of the ATL. As much as I love building up this world's legends - I feel it helps create a sense of a more lives in world, and also Celtic and Germanic myths and legends are so vibrant during this time - they aren't the sole or main focus of this timeline.

    We will be sticking with the Gaels for two more chapters, and will then turn our attention back to the continent.
     
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  14. Višeslav Well-Known Member

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    I've been skimming and so far I find this TL very interesting. Also, I love the way you do your maps. They're simple and look good but it's the writing on them that I really like. It is casual, sarcastic and entertaining (honestly, it's not so much that the humor is world shatteringly legendary but the fact that it is present at all is a nice touch that I really appreciate). It's rare that you find a timeline that doesn't take every aspect of itself too seriously. Keep up the amazing work.
     
  15. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    I'm glad you like what you've read so far, and welcome aboard! I wish I could take full credit for the maps, but they were the work of @B_Munro who was also responsible for the humor in the legend (which took me by surprise, but which i greatly enjoyed as well!)

    The nerd in me does enjoy working some humor into the timeline however - after all, history is the story of humans and human life is full of drama, happiness, misery and also more than a little bit of humor and irony. I especially had fun working all of these I the travel narratives of our good Greek friend Romanos. The last chapter to feature him included some (what I thought at the time) humorous references to modern music and authors. Sadly, no one seemed to pick up on many of them, much to my horror ;)
     
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  16. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    Chapter 78

    How Soft Your Fields of Green, Can Whisper Tales of Gore


    [​IMG]

    The Footprint of Fealty at Dunadd, where the Kings of Dal Raida were crowned


    Fields of Emerald and Crimson: Pre-Theutish Gaelland, a Comprehensive History
    By: Dr. Adomnan Au’Domnal
    [Saint Padraig University Press, Carrickfergus, Kingdom of Gaeland, 2002]





    No other kingdom in Pre-Theutish Gaeland has so captivated the minds of scholars and laymen alike than that of Dal Riada; that unique state which in ancient times dominated the Channel of St. Padraig (OTL: Irish Channel). So great is the fame of this kingdom, that it is often referred too as the “foundation stone” of the Gaelic nation. This, despite the fact that its vanquishing by the Theut at the Battle of Eilean Leogach [OTL: Lewis and Harris] in the 9th century meant that neither it, nor its Theutish successor state, went on to establish hegemony over the entirety of the the main Gaelic island of Eire nor Alba. Despite this, its role as the predominant Gaelic state during the Rauthering era gave rise to an immense cultural heritage which was cultivated and built upon by later rulers – both Theutish and Gaelic.

    So great was the reputation of Dal Raida during the Theutish Era and in the years of the early united Kingdom of Gaeland, that it entered into the realm of imagination and fantasy. The Court of King Fergus Mor – an apparent conglomeration of the early 6th century ruler Fergus Mor Mac Eirc and the 8th century Fergus Dall Mac Mael Duin – becomes a common setting for many stories set during the Rauthering Era, and would come to rival that of even King Connachbar of the Ulster Cycle, himself. In the popular imagination, Dal Raida came to represent an era of lost power and glory, cruelly snuffed out by foreign invaders, as well as a setting for the adventures of superhuman heroes and villains. In this way, it came to play a similar function in the minds of the Gaelic people as did the Eald North for the Sexish, or even the host of the Aecheans for the Greeks of the Classical world.

    Although we too enjoy a good tale, Dal Riada remains important to historians for other reasons entirely. As the strongest Gaelic power during the Rauthering Era, the activities of Dal Riada cast a powerful and penetrating glow over the social and political processes at work in Rauthering Gaeland. Indeed, what is most interesting about Dal Riada is not that it ran counter to the trends of the greater Gaelic world, but that is so closely followed and even exemplified those trends. As we see the consolidation of royal power in the rest of Gaeland, so too we see the same in Dal Riada. As other Gaelic raiders sought the sea to win wealth, prestige and power, they sailed from Dal Riada in greater numbers. As the Christian Church came to greater prominence in the region, Dal Riada played a role as a cultural and spiritual center for the missionaries to the Scots, Cumbers and abroad. Indeed, what sets Dal Raida apart from its contemporaries is not in bucking trends, but rather in so utterly expressing them, and doing so in a manner more successful than its neighbors.


    We are also lucky in that Dal Riada is better documented than many other Gaelic states during this same era. This is not to say that we have a perfect representation of Dal Riada during the the centuries of its existence, but it is better represented than many of its contemporaries. Partially, this is the result of Monastary at Iona which was closely allied with the Kings of Dal Riada and maintained a Chronicle which covers events in the northern Gaelic world in detail. Dal Riada’s power also necessitated that it’s kings and political machinations were often recorded in the chronicles of other peoples; most notably the Sexo-Anglish Chronicle as well as that of the holy island of Lindisfarne. Adding to these chronicles, are a number of hagiographies featuring the lives of saints who were closely aligned with the Dal Riadan monarchs. These sources, naturally, are less than ideal, as they contain a large amount of patently mythological aspects; but scholars beginning in the early 20th century have returned to these early works in order to analyze what they reveal about life in Dal Raida and Rauthering Gaeland. Next, we have the many stories of raiders, kings and heroes that make up the majority of the Rauthering Cycle. These stories, which range from the obviously fantastical, such the tales of Brandon the Black, to the more realistic body of Ráitis written in Tir na Dóiteáin, beginning with the 9th century. These stories present many of the same difficulties as the hagiographies, and the serious study of them began at roughly the same time, with the groundbreaking scholarship of Taig Mac Hagan in 1893. [FN1]

    Finally, one last important source is the “Eachdraidh nan Daoine Gàidhlig” which was written in the Theutish court of the Kingdom of Scotland – the successor state to Dal Riada – in either the later 9th or early 10th century. Written in the Gaelic language, the work pertains to be a history of the Gaelic people until the Theutish invasions of the 9th century and is thought to have been based on a number of prior works which have now been lost to us. Although it contains a great deal of mythological influences - detailing the invasion of Ireland by the Sons of Mile, as well as the settlement of Britain by Brutus and other Trojans – many of the events depicted in the 6th century and after bear the mark of historical memory. Unfortunately, as it was written centuries after the events is depicts, as well the presence of mythological characteristics, has caused it to be questioned by some scholars in recent years. My personal feelings are that many of the criticisms aimed at the Eachdraidh, as it shall be referenced from this point forward, are largely overblown. However, as any other historical source, it should be questioned, and corroborated when and wherever possible.



    The orgins of Dal Riada remain lost to the fog of history and memory. The traditional scholarly consensus was that Dal Riada was settled by Gaelic invaders who sailed across the Channel of St. Patrick from Ulster. However, this story has come to be questioned by scholars in recent years, as no archeological evidence for an invasion have been uncovered after centuries of searching. Instead, a new theory states that the short distance between Ulster and the region of Dal Riada allowed for easy sea travel and the maintaining of a single language between the Dal Riadans and the Gaels of Antrium. The early kingdom of Dal Riada was centered around Argyll which was defended from the surrounding Pictish tribes in Scotland by the Druim Alban ridge. The name of the Kingdom, Dal Riada means “The Portion of Riada” with Riada being a personal name. However, whoever this Riada was has long been forgotten – though there have been some efforts to tie him to the mythological figure of Cairpre Riata, it is hard to ascertain the historical truths behind the legends of this figure.


    Whatever the case of the founding of Dal Riada, by 6th century, it had emerged as a local power, holding lands in Argyll and Antrium and claiming an uneasy overlordship over the Dál Fiatach of Ulaid. Although respectable and expanding its control over the Na h-Eileanan an Iar [OTL: Outer Hebrides], Dal Riada faced a number of important threats, the most important of which were the Picts of Eastern Scotland, as well as the Northern Ui’Neill of Western Ulster in Eire. As a result, Dal Riadan supremacy was in no way assured; in fact the Kingdom found its existence threatened by an invasion of Picts under Maelchon Son of Cennalath in 578 AD.




    Perhaps no other Gaelic Kingdom was better placed to capitalize on the dawning of the Rauthering Age in the early 7th century. Although the first Rauthering raids were unquestionably individual endeavors carried out by local ri or fianna bands, they quickly began to draw the attention of the more powerful Ruri and provincial kings. As late as the 628, which witnessed the dramatic raid of Burdigala in Jaille, Rautherings were often carried out with the prerogative of the strongest Kings in the Gaelic world. Their lack of involvement began to have disastrous consequences for many of the established dynasties within Gaeland, as the victorious raiders often came back laiden with wealth and the resulting prestige which weath and victory engendered.

    Traditional Gaelic society was deeply stratified; laws even existed which dictated which colors a freeman was allowed to wear based on his social status, with blue and purple being reserved for Kings, red and brown, while commoners were restricted to yellow, black and white. Although some social mobility was present, usually through the gaining of wealth, an upstart family would have to hold their increased wealth and power for three generations before they were considered to have increased their class status. [FN2]

    The returning Rautherings directly challenged many of these conventions. A successful raider could amass, in a short number of years, enough wealth and prestige to rival all but the mightiest of kings. These raiders, furthermore, often commanded the loyalty of a mass of followers who were swayed by the proven leadership of the Rauthering and who had been enriched by association. As a result, they saw no reason why they should have until their grandson’s time before their status as assured. This must have have been deeply unsettling to society and destabilizing to the traditional kingdoms within Gaeland. Occasion efforts were made to bring social, religious and military pressure against these new made men, with Church decrees lambasting the Fir Bréagach Corcra (False Purple-Men) for their pride and demanding they put down their arms. All too little avail; although a small number of battles are recorded in the Annals of Ulster and Chronicle of Gaeland which can be interpreted as successful putting down of a Fir Bréagach Corcra uprising, these were few and far between.

    This era saw the emergence of a number of new dynasties and kin-groups which must have reflected the rising of Rautherings into the nobility and kingship in Gaelic society. Although some of these were violent, such as the emergence of the Ui’Columb in Ulaid, or the Ui' Scolaire of western Mide, the vast majority appear to have taken a different route. Most likely, the amending of the laws, quiet marriages with established kingly and noble families, and other pragmatic solutions were the rule of the day. By the early 8th century, law codes were recording that wealth would only need to be held for two generations to secure a social promotion, and even this could be waived at the behest of a King, as long as a decree dictating the promotion was announced before an Oenach council of legal scholars.

    Facing the unrest of returning Rautherings, witnessing the wealth that was available for the taking, and the popular support given to a successful raider, it did not take long before established Kings began to support their own Rauthering expeditions. Generally speaking, Kings could support expeditions in one of two ways: they could either lead the raid themselves, securing for themselves the majority share of any plunder gained, or they could sponsor an expedition, giving leadership to an established raiding leader, taking a share of the wealth in exchange for their support and some form of boon (this could range from a promise to raise the raiding leader to a higher level of nobility, the granting of lands, a choice marriage or anything inbetween.).

    One of the first Gaelic kings to take to the sea himself was Dal Riada’s own, Aed Mac Aedan. Although known best for his role in the Sexish Beriasong, which paints the King as a traitorous ally and overall man of low character, the historic Aed Mac Aedan was a wildly successful sea-raider. According to the Annals of Ulster, King Aed lead three major expeditions from 630 through 635 to the continent, plundering wildly through Jaille and even south into northern Spania. Using the wealth gained, he was able to raise an army and push Dal Riadan authority eastwards into Pictland, defeating the grandson of the Pictish King Maelchon and bringing an end to Pictish unity for a generation. In doing so, he established himself as the most powerful king in northern Britain and felt comfortable intervening in the affairs of Cumbria. This power likely earned the ire of the Sexish people, and this likely accounts for his portrayal as a backstabbing tyrant in the Beriasong. [FN3]

    Even before the expeditions of Aed Mac Aedan, Dal Raida was the preminent naval power in Eire and Britain. The kingdom was able to field an impressive naval force by requiring that every community within the realm to supply the king with two seven-bench ship to the King’s navy for ever 20 households. As the Kingdom grew during the seventh century, this leavy increased so that the Dal Raidan Navy was likely the largest north of the Gothic-Roman Empire. Increasingly, the navy was used to engage in royal-supported raids upon Britain or the continent and the wealth of these expeditions was poured into the royal coffers to strengthen the navy and the army.

    The new laws which developed during that century allowed a King to raise a freeman to the rank of nobility by decree before an Oenach. This gave the King an important new power, which the Kings of Dal Raida – as well as other Gaelic leaders – used to promote their allies and to stock the ranks of the nobility with those who were loyal to the King and his agenda. Traditionally, Dal Riada was comprised of three prominent kin groups: The Cenél nGabráin, the Cenél nÓengusa and the Cenél Loairn. By the time the kingdom was vanquished in the 9th century, this number had grown to ten. Some of these prominent families were acquired after pledging themselves to Dunadden, but many others were the descendants of those raised to nobility by ambitious kings.




    The Rauthering Age saw an increase in trade between the Gaelic kingdoms and the powers of the continent, including the Gothic-Roman Empire, Vandaland and Rhomania. Raiders could just as quickly turn into traders, and traders were as likely to turn to raiding if the opportunity presented itself. As trade became more important, Gaeland began to experience the first steps towards urbanization. Although the nation would remain majority rural until the 18th century, this era of the Rautherings saw the establishment of Gaeland’s modern major urban centers, including Carrickfergus, Dubhlinn, Corcaigh and Gaillimh to name but the most prominent.


    Although these urban centers were small by modern standards, they were the largest communities seen in Gaeland proper since the Bronze Age. Their growth caused another unexpected consequence of the Rauthering Era, namely the problems resulting from the need to feed this new urban population. Although archeology and law codes both conclude that many urban dwellers kept pigs for their own needs, this could not sustain the whole population of the towns alone. To meet these needs, many began to expand their herds of cattle. Cattle were a common measurement of wealth in pre-Theutish Gaeland and even were popular exports during the Rauthering Era. However, to feed the growing towns, herds had to be expanded and this expansion often occurred at the expanse of smaller freemen landholders who found themselves either bought out or forced off their land to make way for the expanded herds and fields of grain. Although this enriched many within the nobility, it was disastrous to many smaller freeholders who suddenly found themselves deprived of their traditional livelihood. Even worse, many freedmen now found themselves facing competition from an unexpected direction: slaves. Not all of the wealth gained by the Rautherings were in the form of gold and jewels; the capture of humanbeings was equally common. During this time, Dubhlinn and Carrickfergus both grew as important slave market towns, and though many of these slaves were sold abroad, others found themselves being purchased by local ords to help work their expanded herds and fields. This created a situation in which it became even harder for small landholders to compete. Those who were disposed were faced with a limited number of solutions to their predicament; they could either bound themselves to a large landholder and lose some of their freedom, they could emigrate to the growing urban centers, or they could take to rauthering themselves in an attempt to gain enough wealth to buy more land.

    Because of this, as the 7th century progressed and into the first half of the 8th, Gaeland possessed a growing number of landless itinerates. Some of them turned to the Church, seeking shelter by joining monastic orders, entering into the clergy or traveling abroad as missionaries. The pressures which these Gaels put on society might help to explain the creation of the two greatest Gaelic colonies during the 8th century: Dal Caoimhe and Tir na Dóiteáin. Both of these colonies came about directly as a result of Dal Riada exploration and raiding, with the prior founded by the dynamic Caoimhe Aon Féasóg who may have had connections to the ruling dynasty of Dal Riada, and the later initially founded by Dal Riadan monks.



    Dal Riada was not the only Kingdom to use the Rathering Era to consolidate royal power and expand; by the mid-8th century the Gaelic states, which had once resembled a patchwork of semi-independent statelets, had found itself divided into a smaller number of provincial kingdoms. These were Dal Raida, Mumu, Connacht, and the Southern Ui’Neil Kingdom of Laighean. Despite this, Dal Raida was by far the most successful of these kingdoms and by the beginning of the 9th century, were confident enough in their power that their kings claimed the position of Ard Ri; a position which had initially been the creation of the Ui’Neill in the 6th century in an effort to solidify their control as the dominant kingroup throughout Eire. [FN4]

    Perhaps the ruler who best exemplifies Dal Raida during this era was King Fergus Dall Mac Mael Duin, known as “The Blind” or “The Squinter” We know that Fergus Fall reigned from the year 694 until his death in 717, because her was one of the Dal Riada kings who was wealthy enough and confident in his power to mint a series of coins. As was usual for Dal Raida kings – and Gaelic kings in general – although a small number of gold coins were minted, the primary metal used for the coins was silver as this was more readily available throughout Gaeland.

    Fergus Dal did not stem from one of the original three kidreds of Dal Raida. He was a member of the Cenél Naoisi, a dynasty which was descended from Naoisi an Seòlta. Little is known of the life of Naoisi an Seòlta, save that he was a Rauthering that was raised to the level of the nobility by King Aed Mac Aedan in the early 7th century and was granted the fertile Isle of Ìle [OTL: Islay] which was then and now known for its fertile fields. The descendants of Naoisi leveraged their rich and fertile lands to field large armies to support the Kings of Dal Raida and also engaged in raiding expeditions throughout the Atlantic. Because of their reputation for boldness as well as political acumen, they ascended to the Kingship of Dal Riada with Fergus’ father Mael Duin.


    Dal Raida followed in the inheritance rules of tanistry where noble members of the ruling family would meet to help elect the King’s successor. We cannot be sure how old Fergus was upon his ascention as his Father’s chief heir, but he must have been in his late teens or early twenties, because he already had a major raid to his name, having raided deep into Saxony. This could have meant that he had led an expedition into continental Saxony, or else Sexland, as the chronicles of the time occasionally used Saxony to denote either of these, through the prior seems to be the most likely.

    Fergus attained the kingship in 694 following the wounding of his Father who lost a foot in battle – at the time Gaelic law still dicated that a King must be ‘whole in body’ and so the loss of any major body part might make them ineligible to retain the kingship (though, Fergus’ supposed failing eyesight later in life did not remove him from office). We know that Fergus was married to the laughter of a major Pictish family, though its likely that he had more than one wife as the taking of multiple wives or concubines was the norm amongst the Gaelic aristocracy of the time.

    If the legends are to be believed, Fergus spent much of his reign waring against the Pictish powers to the East. Many of the myths which surround his court state that he conquered the Picts, though this seems unlikely, as is successors are often reported as warring against the Pictish people. Either he was able to establish dominance over the Picts and this slipped away following his death, or the tales of his conquest are an exaggeration and Fergus simply expanded his realm eastward into Pictish lands. Both of these are reasonable considering the politics of the time. The Chronicle of Iona as well as the Annals of Ulster simply state that Fergus “won a great victory over the Picts and vanquished their King Gartnait, in the Year of Our Lord 703”

    In either case, Fergus was remembered as a great King, so much so that his court became synonymous with a Golden Age, upon the conquest of the Gaels by the Theut. He was also identified as the Father of two exceptionally important figures from the history of Dal Raida: Caoimhe and Mael Duin An Naomh, both of whom were the founders of Gaelic colonies. The case of Caoimhe is fascinating, as the dates seem to align; Caoimhe likely founded her realm of Dal Caoimhe during the early second decade of the 8th century and her famous raids upon Carthage and Rome occurred in 715 and 716 respectively. If she was born early in the reign of King Fergus Dall, she would have been in her early 20s at the time, or a bit older had she been born earlier. Even more intriguing, Caoimhe is remembered in legends as sharing the congenial eye problems suffered by Fergus. None of these are conclusive, but its at least possible that she actually was Fergus Dall’s daughter by a second wife or concubine. If she wasn’t, she certainly descended from the Cenél Naoisi and could have been a cousin or niece.

    Sadly, the likelihood of Mael Duin An Naomh being a son of Fergus Dall is unlikely. We know that the Monastary of Saint Brendan, the founding of which is often used as the date of the founding of Tir na Dóiteáin, did not occur until 741. Although Mael Duin’s age at the time is not known, the Saint Brendan Chronicle as well the Ráitis “Sgeulachd an Luchd-Tuineachaidh,” which means Story of the Settlers, both refer to Mael Duin as young at the time of the founding. This doesn’t preclude Fergus’ parentage, but its important to remember that in the legendarium Mael Duin is remembered as the eldest son who turns to a holy life after being wounded in war, and this is supported in the “Sgeulachd an Luchd-Tuineachaidh.” Furthermore, there is no reference to a Mael Duin Mac Fergus in the Annals of Ulster or the Chronicle of Iona, and one would be forgiven for expecting to find one. However, we do know for a fact that Mael Duin, much like Caoimhe, was a member of Cenél Naoisi. This makes it likely that he was either a grandson of Fergus, or else a nephew.

    No matter the familial connections to either Caoime or Mael Duin, Fergus ruled over a prosperous kingdom which was clearly in the ascendant. The Chronicles report that he felt confident enough in his power, following his victory of the pIctish King Gartnait that he either took part in, or sponsored, two subsequent raiding expeditions to Jaille. Near the end of his life, he also traveled to Rome on a pilgrimage which took an entire year; certainly not the actions of a King who felt as if his kingdom as insecure. While in the Holy City he threw silver and gold coins to the crowd and received a blessing from the Pope. [FN5]

    Fergus Dall passed away in 717, the Chronicle of Iona stating “In this year, King Fergus, a great patron of the Church and beloved of God passed away in his bed after a long life.” We do not know the cause of his death, but the simple fact that he died after al ong reign and did not perish upon a battlefield, speaks well of his military acumen as well as his skills as a politician and ruler. Although his reign is remembered as a golden age, it would be under the reign of his grandson Conan an Gabhálaí that Dal Riada would reach its greatest power.

    ..

    Conan an Gabhálaí met the forces of the Northern Ui Neil at the Battle of Magh Rath in 734. Much of the context of this battle has been lost to history, with the conflict blamed on everything from the, obviously mythological, conflict over possession of a bull, to a marriage alliance gone wrong, to personal enmity over a drunken dare.

    Most likely the battle stemmed from the political realities of the era. For over a century, Dal Raida had been solidifying its control over what we now know as the province of Ulster. Although the Picts to the East had not been fully conquered – nor would they be fully incorporated and gealicized until the era of the Theutish Kingdom of Scotland – their central power had been shattered and they no longer posed a threat of Dal Raida. Furthermore, Al Clud – the dominant power of Cumbria for over a century - had been brought into a marriage alliance with Dunadd. The result was that Dal Raida’s eastern flank was secure for the first time in a generation.

    For several decades, Dal Raida had followed a policy of division towards its rival powers in Eire, with the primary focus being on driving a wedge between the Northern and Southern Ui’Neill. In order to do this, it had intermarried with the Northern Ui’Neill and seems to have come to see them as a subjugated kin-group. With its eastern flank secure, Conan was able to turn his attention back to the West and engaged in a policy to integrate Ulster more fully into the Kingdom.

    This likely irritated both branches of the Ui’Neill; the Southern branch which dominate Laighan and currently claimed the position as Ard Ri, and the Northern branch which had been happy to exploit the advantages of an alliance with the Dal Raida while they were focused elsewhere, but not found themselves chaffing under the yoke of their unequal alliance.

    Because of this, in 733, Domnall Mac Suibne of the Northern Ui’Neill entered into alliance with his Southern kinsman in order to styme Dal Riadan power; the alliance being sealed with a marraigebetween Domnall’s daughter and the Southern Ui’Neill’s King Conochbar’s son Congal. Conan would have immediately grasped the significance of this action and moved his forces into position to attack his earstwhile ally (and, to his mind, vassal).

    The combined forces of the Ui’Neill met Conan and the Dal Riadan’s in battle at Magh Rath, southeast of Lough Neagh. The Annals of Ulster report that in that year “the forces of Conan, King of Dal Raida, met those of Domnall Mac Suibne and Conochbar of Laighn in battle. There was a great slaughter and the crows feasted well for weeks. Many great heroes were felled on both side, amongst these was Conochbar and his sons, as well as the sons of Domnall.”

    The battle was so destructive that Conan took the name An Gabhálaí as well as the title of Ard Ri of Gaeland. His descendants would hold this title, with only a few exceptions, until the collapse of Dal Raida during the Theutish invasions The Kingdom also reached its greatest expansion, forcing the Northern Ui’Neill to become vassals and solidifying their control over Ulster. [FN6]



    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [FN1] The ATL version of the Sagas. Much like OTL, they record stories of raiders, kings, war leaders, and common people, in the prose style. In OTL the Irish produced a vast corpus of prose literature during the early Middle Ages, during a time when most of their neighbors were writing in poetry. In the ATL, they still do so (yes, the Tain is still produced in the ATL – there is no way I’m depriving the world of that masterwork!) but in addition to older mythic stories, they also write a series of stories recording the events of the Rauthering Age. I generally stay away from parallelisms in this ATL; but I couldn’t NOT like something like the Sagas from being produced. Ráitis, literally translated, means ‘statements’ or ‘sayings.’

    [FN2] All of this is as per OTL, actually.

    [FN3] The Beriasong and the collapse of the Sexish “Old North” is depicted in Chapter 36, posted way back in August of 2014!

    [FN4] The Southern Ui’Neil of Mide expanded their power to the southeast and annexed Laighean and Dubhlinn. They, more or less, become the largest competitors to Dal Raida and through an alliance in Mumu, manage to keep Dal Riada from utterly dominating the Gaelic lands.

    A short note, incase it is not entirely clear: I am using Eire to refer to the island that is known in OTL as Ireland, and Scotland is used to refer to the lands of OTL Scottish highlands. In th ATL, all of the Gaelic lands are united in a unified Kingdom of Gaelia and have been since the OTL High Middle Ages (I’d go into details, but that would we giving WAY too much away :p ). Because of this, there is a need to have a term that designates the difference between the island of Ireland and the Highlands (which, currently in the ATL as well as in OTL are divided between Dal Riada and the Picts).

    [FN5] A few shades of the historical MacBeth here I know much pilgrimages wouldn’t have been common at this time, but I figure a King who feels himself that secure would be willing to take one; and Fergus really was a very strong Dal Raidan Monarch.

    [FN6] So, to clarify, Dal Raida has control now of all of Ulster and, in OTL Scotland, Loch Ness and the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park acts as the Eastern border of the Kingdom.

    Okay, for those who wanted a return to the real 'history' and less of the legends and mythology of this world, I happily submit this chapter to you. Its not as long as previous chapters, but it certainly more dense. I really wanted to explore some of the practical ramifications of a Rauthering Age in Ireland, and I hope that what I describe comes off as both logical but also interesting. I am currently planning on doing one more chapter dealing with the Gaels in this timeline and then we will be moving back to the Goths. I hope you all enjoyed this and look forward to your comments!

    UP NEXT: The Settlement of Tir na Dóiteáin!
     
  17. Baron Steakpuncher Probably stupid

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2016
    Where I wonder does Strathclyde fit into this? I think they were closer to welsh than the gaels.
     
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  18. DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Wauwatosa, WI
    You are right. Strathclyde is one of the Cumbrian states which is currently in the orbit of the Alclud.
     
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  19. Basileus_Komnenos Imperator Romanorum Βασιλεύς των Ρωμαιων Αὔγουστος

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    @DanMcCollum

    Is there a story only thread for this? If not have you considered thread-marking the chapters.
     
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  20. DanMcCollum P-WI

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Wauwatosa, WI
    That's a valid point. Truthfully, I need to figure out exactly how to set up thread marking. Due to the size of the timeline, it would make it easier for readers (and me!) to jump to tge correct spot. It's something i will look into in the next day or two
     
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