The Legacy of Saint Brendan: A History of the Western Hemisphere, 512 to the Present

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Rognvald, Jul 9, 2018.

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  1. agisXIV Well-Known Member

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    I think the formation of Islam should stay the same as OTL, whether the early conquests go so well, should be another question, one which would radically change the religion.
     
  2. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    We need to see how butterflies hit the Byzantines and company before worrying about Islam.

    Hell, the last Roman-Persian War might get butterflied by certain people not dying, which would completely change the nature of the Mideast.
     
  3. SeaCambrian Well-Known Member

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    May 28, 2018
    Will Columba of Iona and Columban of Francia make appearances in this timeline, possibly founding significant monasteries in the New World? (Rather ironic names, considering their vast differences from Christopher Columbus).

    It could be interesting to see the "Golden Age of Irish Monasticism" surviving much longer in the New World than in Ireland itself.
     
  4. mythmonster2 Well-Known Member

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    Alright, this looks pretty interesting! Hopefully the Native Americans can end up with a better deal than OTL.
     
  5. FriendlyGhost Haunting history for 45+ yrs

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    This thread is moving fast - a good sign :)

    Most of my info has been gathered over many years from all sorts of sources (for example, I first read the story of Bernard's vision of Christ crucified in Millenium by Tom Holland - who also wrote Shadow of the Sword - very good if you're looking for an accessible read about the rise of Islam).
    1. A good site on Celtic Christianity I've found is this one: http://www.cushnieent.force9.co.uk/CelticEra/Nature/nature.htm.
    2. Also, the wikipedia article isn't bad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Christianity
    3. One book I use as a reference quite a bit is A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch (published as Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years in the USA). Given the scope, there's not a huge amount on the Celtic/Irish church of the period of TTL (5/6 pages out of 1100+), but one point is worth quoting, I think, as it relates to the spread of butterflies (I'm selectively quoting, but only to keep this short):
    '...contacts with Syrian or Egyptian Christians...These unpredictable links between the Middle East and furthest western Europe...'​

    Anyway, back to the story...:cool:
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Chapter One, Part Three: The Plague

    Rognvald Höfundur á Sögur

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    Chapter One, Part Three: The Plague, 535-537

    The year 535 began much the same as the previous 18 years on the Insulam de Benedictus. The Skin People dispersed to their summer camps, the monks planted their turnip and cabbage fields and prepared their nets, and a brave few volunteers sailed two currachs loaded with furs towards Ireland for the trade. By all appearances, it would be a normal year- as normal a year as one could hope to have at the edge of the known world, of course.

    But to those more in tune with the spiritual, something was… off. The air hung oddly heavy, the birds moved in strange patterns, the seals roared like lions (that is, of course, if one trusts the traditional accounts). In their holds across the islands, the shamans of the Skin People all began to turn up nothing but bad omens. Brendan was troubled in his sleep, dreaming dreams of a skeletal horseman chasing him across a barren landscape.

    The shamans wailed and beat drums and chanted to try to avert the catastrophe they sensed was coming. Brendan kept his own counsel. And yet, for much of the year nothing happened. The shamans felt cautiously optimistic that they had averted the crisis; Brendan sighed and drew his cloak closer against the coming winter.

    Several bands of the Skin People arrived in the fall to trade or to winter with the monks, as was customary. Arjalinerk, who was now quite aged by the standards of the Skin People, held several discussions with Brendan, as he was wont to do. He told Brendan of the feelings of the shamans, and how they had disturbed many. Brendan processed this information- he held only fear mixed with hatred for the shamans, and he did his best to push the image of their ceremonies out of his head.

    The monks returned from Ireland shortly thereafter, loaded down with trade goods and accompanied by a new monk wishing to join the monastery. The trade season was good indeed; a few bands left after a day or two of trading. It was a week into the trading, however, that the coughing began. At first a monk caught ill, though he shook it off for two days until Brendan all but forced him into the infirmary. Then a few more monks began to cough; then some of the children of the Skin People.

    Within a week of the coughing beginning, it had begun to spread like fire.

    The monks, who were, for the most part, spared the ravages of the disease (a fact that Brendan attributed to their faith in Christ Jesus), did their best to care for the natives afflicted. Only one monk would die from the sickness, while the others who were hit by it recovered, albeit slowly.

    But the Skin People, on the other hand…

    The Skin People were absolutely devastated.

    The deaths began among the young and the old. The monks and the still able-bodied Skin Men dug graves. But then the men and the women began to be afflicted; soon, only a few of the one-hundred and thirty so Skin People congregated around the monastery were still standing. The deaths then came faster, to fast for the monks to dig graves.

    Arjalinerk died early on in the Plague. As he slipped away, he asked Brendan to perform the shamanic ceremonies to ensure him passage to the next world. He still thought of Brendan as just another holy man. Brendan, interpreting this differently, performed a baptism and gave him the eucharist. Arjalinerk, too weak to truly figure out what was going on, died a Christian and departed to the next life as “Abraham”- the first Christian convert of the New World.

    This set a pattern, as many of the Skin People, as they died, were made Christians by well-meaning monks. The survivors, shocked and confused by what was going on, also accepted baptism. By Spring, the missionary effort had seen nearly seventy-five come to Christ- of course, of that seventy-five, only ten or so remained among the living.

    Beyond the monastery, the bands that had traded and then moved on were felled by the sickness. Survivors would wander aimlessly, not knowing that they carried the seed of the Plague within them. They would be found by other bands, and pass the illness on in another wave. By the time spring came, there were but a few scattered survivors of the Skin People, picking their way in a daze across the landscape, trying to reestablish a pattern of life. The shamans, whose isolation had spared them the worst ravages of the disease, wailed and cried for the end of all things had come. A few of them slit their wrists and let themselves be carried away; some tried to organize the survivors, and then were felled by the disease themselves; most simply left the island, rowing to the mainland where men who were not doomed still lived.

    What was this Plague that so ravaged the Skin People and all but destroyed their culture? The tradition held that this was a punishment from God for not converting to the True Faith. While this may, indeed, have been true (depending on one’s religious sensibilities), the method the Lord used remained hidden until recent epidemiological studies. It was determined that the Plague was nothing but influenza [1]. One theory held that the new monk that joined the monastery in 535 was an asymptomatic carrier of the flu, passing it on to the unwitting monks and natives he interacted with. Influenza, being a Eurasian disease, was a sickness that the Skin People had no defense for.

    Influenza or no, the Plague had changed the dynamic on the Insulam de Benedictus forever. Of a population of around five-hundred, the Skin People were reduced to some thirty-five souls. Many of these would end up being taken in by the monks, though some, following the surviving shamans, would cross to the mainland. Those that remained with the monks were “Christianized”, and did their best to blend in.

    Brendan was absolutely devastated by the destruction wrought by the plague. In a letter to a friend in Ireland, he stated that he could no longer call the land the Insulam de Benedictus, but rather the “Isle of the Dead”. He did not send out a trade expedition that year, instead focusing his efforts on combing the island for survivors, for any sign of life.

    He would send a currach back to Ireland in 537, carrying news of what had happened. This news would sadden the Church, save for knowing a few had been saved before death, but it would excite the laymen and the Kings of Ailech. For the Kings of Ailech had grown accustomed to the trade, and now saw a chance to take over the supply side of the arrangement for themselves…

    [1] This may seem odd, but influenza was what killed the natives of the Antilles shortly after Columbus visited their island.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  7. Rognvald Höfundur á Sögur

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    They probably will! *Looks awkwardly at the last update* Probably!
     
  8. Rognvald Höfundur á Sögur

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    Interesting suggestions all!

    Columba of Iona was born post POD, and close to the butterfly point, so he’ll likely be butterflied. But I do like the irony with the names a loooot.


    XD Yep, they are on the course to glory!
     
  9. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    I am seriously loving this timeline!!!
     
  10. markus meecham Bitch, i'm morose and lugubrious

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    Constantinople? more like Khosrowabad
     
  11. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    Apr 30, 2012
    Ctesiphon? More like Justinianopolis

    To be fair your idea is more interesting
     
  12. markus meecham Bitch, i'm morose and lugubrious

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    i've honestly never seen a persians win over the greeks tl over here other than that achaemenid hellas one. the legend of the medic wars is really fucking strong, eh?
     
  13. zhenghe1421 Well-Known Member

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    Dec 10, 2013
    Another great update! Curious to find out about what happened to those that left to the mainland, and what happened to those trade goods that the natives got. Sometime down the line someone is going to figure out how to use those trade goods to fasten weapons, which is going to be a huge benefit. Perhaps mirroring what the King of Ailech is going to do in Ireland.
     
  14. markus meecham Bitch, i'm morose and lugubrious

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    i seriously hope that the colonization efforts keep being very, very low intensity for a long period of time. newfoundland being a tiny arcadia for irish poets to write about for a couple centuries and the like...
     
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  15. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    And then one day SUDDENLY MOUNDBUILDERS
     
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  16. markus meecham Bitch, i'm morose and lugubrious

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    with FULL BODY STEEL ARMOR
     
  17. Rognvald Höfundur á Sögur

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    Thank you!!!

    I’ve been doing a tiny bit of looking at the Byzantines at the time, and I think I’ve found a few curveballs to throw at this timeline...

    The emigration of the survivors from the Isle, as well as the increasing Irish economic interest in it, will utterly shift the development of the Northeastern reaches of North America...

    My plans have been revealed! :p

    ——————————-

    I realized today that the AD system of dating came later. So that’s potentially butterflied. I think I may just handwave it for my own sake of keeping track of dates in universe, as dating stuff from the birth of Christ seems like a logical development any how.

    I am also going to be reorganizing the three chapters into one chapter with three sections, just to streamline my own notes.
     
  18. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    I did the same in my Amalingian Empire timeline. I started with this grand goal of maintaining the Roman dating system that would have been in use at the time but that quickly fell apart and I became confused myself in short order. So I just justified it as the documents we are reading of modern OTL English translations of texts that exist in the ATL, etc etc etc. I salved my bruised ego a bit ;)

    By the way, are the Basque currently aware of the fishing fields up around Newfound Land in the ATL? I'm not sure if they knew of them or not, yet, in OTL - but it would be somewhat interesting if Irish monks start running into Basque fishermen :)
     
  19. Mr_Fanboy Well-Known Member

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    Jul 17, 2016
    Are things in Europe still happening exactly as per OTL at this moment? For instance, are the Gothic Wars in their early stages, or have they somehow been averted somehow?
     
  20. Xianfeng Emperor Amateur Iran-o-phile

    Oh my god! Poor Arjalinerk. Here's to the best Bromance of AH.com fiction. :frown:
     
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