The New World of the White Huns

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Practical Lobster, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. Rdffigueira A citizen of the Southern Hemisphere

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    [Screw it, I'm back!]

    I've been waiting for this. At last. I've absolutely loved "A Different Oikoumene", but I hoped that this had not been abandoned, it is one of the finest TL's here :)
     
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  2. Hobelhouse The Cyberpunk Future is Now

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    Yay, it's back. :extremelyhappy: Good to see the Votive War get a conclusion. I still have some of those half-finished New World maps lying around, but I've been caught up in a ton of RL stuff too...
     
  3. 245 Well-Known Member

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    ITS BACK ! and with communist votist fundamentalist Christianity.
     
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  4. Hobelhouse The Cyberpunk Future is Now

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    I'm sure you're getting around to it but in this update there's some questions raised I'd want to see answered:

    -Did borders change in the east?
    -Does Burgundy run all of Italy or did they split it with the Africans?
    -What's to become of the Rhineland Papal State?
    -
     
  5. mythmonster2 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, it's back!
     
  6. Gwenc'hlan Well-Known Member

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    I had been rereading this over the past feu weeks, very happy To see this return!
     
  7. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

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    Votan be praised, it is back! And I'm loving every single one of your ideas!
     
  8. WotanArgead The Last Soldier of Marxism

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    Wow ... I thought that due to the fact that the Vikings did not go deep into the south, the cult of the Scandinavian Gods would be more ... limited. And why Wotan? This is a West German name. In Russia, he would be called Odin. Slavic gods survived?

    Welcome back!:extremelyhappy:
     
  9. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas Donor

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    Never abandoned. Thanks. :)

    Oooh yes. I do hope you get a chance to finish that project, those maps were excellent.

    Well not quite. Communalist, maybe.

    Borders did change, in some cases dramatically. Still working on that.

    Burgundy rules the vast majority of Italy, but the Papacy and other groups remain independent in practice, including Ravenna. The Two Africas have some outposts in Italy. But not enough.

    :D

    Thank you.

    Thanks!

    The existence of Odin as a Rusichi deity has been alluded to many times. He's popular among the forest mystics and certain other groups. The story of Odin's suffering on the tree was reinterpreted as a Buddhist tradition, and thus he alone of the Norse gods survived to the present in any major, albeit corrupted form. A good number of lesser Slavic deities also rose to prominence, including Yarylo. Add in a few major Iranian deities and you have a weird grab bag pantheon.

    I confess I couldn't think of what they'd call him though. That hadn't come up yet. If anyone has a better suggestion, please.
     
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  10. WotanArgead The Last Soldier of Marxism

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    In Russian there is the word Odin - it is translated into Russian as "one". So it is necessary to think ...
     
  11. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas Donor

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    That exact reason is why I hesitated. Maybe "Oten"?
     
  12. WotanArgead The Last Soldier of Marxism

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    Maybe .... Helga has become Olga, Hrorik - Rurik, and Ingvar - Igor.
    By the way - Yarilo isn't a god. It was a ritual embodiment of spring heat. However, I do not think that this will prevent eiu from taking his place among the bodhisattvas.
     
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  13. EmperorofGreaterArmenia Ruler of Jerusalem protector of the holy Spinach

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    FLIGHT?.....


    Go on.....
     
  14. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas Donor

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    All prelude

    The heartland of Indian civilization, insomuch as an entire continent can be said to have a single civilization or a single heart, is somewhere along the Indo-Gangetic plain. The Painted Grey Ware civilization and Vedic culture had its roots along the sprawling back of fecund and holy Ganga. The Kuru Kings, if they ever lived, did their rites of horse-sacrifice along her banks. The Maurya and Gupta and Maukhani alike dwelt along her silted shores and based their empire off the vast population she sustained.

    Thus, it was obvious to the Pala, the heroic savior kings who had driven the Sahputi to ruin and chased them to the very gates of Balkh, recovering the old universities of Takasashila and the fertile banks of the Indus, that they should come to rule the whole continent. However, after their triumphs against the Sahputi, they quickly realized that this would be more difficult in practice.

    Starting in 1324, the Chandratreya and Pala would square off on an immense scale. The Pala by this point were an established dynasty. They had taken Pataliputra in 1230, and their first on-and-off wars with Utkaladesha had begun in 1247, although these had typically ended in humiliation for Pala arms, despite their strong cavalry arm and mass levies. Their military was not lacking necessarily – their armies were simply yoked to impossible objectives – at all times a substantial portion of their forces were posted on the Sahputi frontier, where Gandhara and the Pajcanada remained restive and were often threatened by Turkic tribes besides. Attempts to secure parts of Afghanistan similarly saw whole armies annihilated in mountain ambushes – especially as the Tayzig Ansara Suf expanded their grip on the region and won over the local princes to their regime.

    Saktipala, the latest King of the Pala dynasty, ascended to the throne in 1320, around the time that his Chandratreya rival, Dharapatta, was reorienting his state around the new and safer capital of Punyavishaya [Punaka]. Both men saw the other as a weak monarch – in truth, both were correct in their assessment of the other, and yet simultaneously blind to their own flaws – blind in particular to their constant dependence on their courtly bureaucracies and expansive professional armies. The cost of maintaining such forces was astronomical and yet neither side could afford to reduce their forces. The cause of Empire demanded enormous fleets and enormous armies. The Chandratreya in particular had established for themselves countless overseas commitments, largely on behalf of the coastal merchant aristocracy whose influence they depended on. These merchants had a substantial disinterest in their landward borders, only barely checked by the army and bureaucracy.

    The Pala had no such mercantile influence, for better or worse. The state that Dharmapala had first established had been little more than a warlord state. By annihilating the Askunu and reclaiming their similarly exploitative regime, he had been forced to turn to the atrophied but still present goshthi for support. With the ayats of the Indo-Gangetic plain crushed and broken, it was these secret communities of scholars who remained the last governing institution in a region which was otherwise feudal and oppressive at best. A hundred years on however, the goshthi had created their ideal state – a monarchy bound by laws, where the sovereign existed distinct from the bureaucracy and the judiciary – but also one where republicanism and notions of the equal-kingdom were thoroughly quashed.

    From roughly the fourteenth century onwards, the goshthi of the Pala Kingdom would have to find new goals. Idolizing the splendor and military prestige of the Gupta, if not their laissez faire style of governance, and the artistic and cultural achievements of the Maukhani state, they dreamed of using the Pala kings as a vehicle to recreate that.

    Thus were the Pala inexorably drawn into a war they did not want or need, with a power whose interests rarely clashed with theirs. At first, this was represented as clashes between buffer states. The Gurjar might raid the Indus, or the Chandela might strike against Utakaladesh, but these were normal border conflicts. What they presaged was something far more dramatic. Only the very south of the subcontinent would not be drawn into the hundred-odd years of warfare which were to come – the massed clashes of levied armies that would ultimately bring down both the Chandratreya and Pala alike by 1411, as mutual exhaustion claimed both sides once and for all.

    The first stage of these wars lasted about twenty years, and consisted primarily of rapidly escalating proxy conflicts. In the second, both sides began striking directly at one another. This was perhaps the most destructive to the polities of the subcontinent. For fifty years, on-and-off, both empires would launch expansive assaults against the other, maintaining armies numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It was a time of brutal violence and incredible technological advancement. Both sides needed massive quantities of firearms and were forced to turn to new technologies to supply their need. Both sides were forced to cope with the cannon – digging fortresses with trenchlines and angled walls to better defend their soldiers against flying cannonballs and rocket attack.

    Unlike the Votive War, there was something languid about the subcontinent’s warfare. Europe fought its great conflict of the early modern era in a frenzied rush, both sides considering it an existential threat to their very existence. The Chandratreya and Pala, by contrast, did not see it as such, at least at an elite level. To them, this was a great game, fought at the cost of millions of human lives, but a game nonetheless. There were rules and there was strategy. When beaten, you made peace. When victorious, you were generous and merciful. Within this, of course, countless millions lost their lives for living in communities that happened to lie in the path of armies. Countless states whose sole crime was standing in the way of an advancing host were crushed into nothingness.

    It is not unreasonable to call this conflict the last great Indian flirtation with Universal Empire. Henceforth, the empires built by the subcontinent would tend to face outwards and look outwards. After the fall of the Chandratreya and Pala, the states that took their place would generally be nations, or padajana, unified by cultural and linguistic lines rather than dynastic states. Conquerors would emerge and nations would rise and fall, but never again would any one state come so close to dominating the whole subcontinent.

    The Pala army in its latter heyday was an achievement of logistics and planning. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers might be fielded at any moment, sustained off of forage and an intricate system of supply depots and caravans. Every army needed food to march, but the transportation of food in the premodern era was a substantial exertion of energy. The transport of food thus required food itself – fodder for pack animals and food for the logisticians and engineers who trailed the army in their own separate quarters, ensuring that the vast beast that was the Pala legions did not go without hunger. They commanded immense resources – the authority to decide who was fed and who went hungry, the authority to command the royal elephant logistical corps, the authority to serve as judges and magistrates over issues of law and order within the ranks, especially when it came to disputes between different battalions.

    The Chandratreya force was no less impressive, especially as Pala innovations demanded the bureaucratization of militaries – a step that necessarily portended the professionalization. No longer were aristocratic soldiers, paid with land, sufficient, and thanks to the increasing profitability of newly global commercial ventures, both sides began to establish truly professional armies – forces were soldiering was a career that were nevertheless not mercenary in nature. Even drafted levies could expect a stipend, used to support their families and buy additional equipment. Huge factories expanded around imperial manufactories, designed to mass produce the keibir-style muskets which were favored for their resilience to the damp and tropical conditions.

    The Young Pope

    The first Pope to return to Rome, Boniface V, would become famous and hated for many things, chief among them mongering spies. As a Cardinal in Koln, he had always been a despised figure, hated by Boudewin III as well as by Ptolemei and his slave-zealot state. As a young man, back when he was named Claudius after his uncle, he had maneuvered – some said blackmailed – his way into the Cardinalship over Koln – conveniently close to the seat of the new Papacy. From there he was able to use his powers of negotiation and manipulation to seize greater strength still. With the Votive War raging and Europe on the back foot against repeated Rusichi invasions, he was able to manipulate the frightened cardinals of Europe into supporting him in a vision of a Europe united – not squabbling princes destroyed by piecemeal fighting against the infidel but one strong force, backed by Papal Legates, the Iudicates, and the Sworn Brothers.

    Just as Constantine had donated the Roman Empire to the Papacy, he argued, so too had the Frankish Emperors returned that title to the Church. While it was absurd for a Pope to also be an Emperor – it was not unthinkable for a Pope to act in a more decisive and aggressive way. It just so happened that the Church had incredible resources as well – Church military forces had by providence and good generalship been spared some of the greater annihilations that had befallen Christendom. The Kings of Europe and their hoary aristocracies reeled, but zealous peasants were easy to find in any time of crisis.

    Still, it took a rare visionary to yoke these mobs behind the legates and make Kings tremble in fear.

    The first to see it was, ironically, Ptolemei Optime, a middle-aged man but a cripple by the end of the war, one who feared losing his throne to another slave soldier more than anything. His own legitimacy was nonexistent, backed by the power of a small but fanatical corps of African slaves whose numbers were difficult to replenish. By the end of the war he was flush with recruits but lacked desperately even a fraction of the soldiers in fighting shape he would need to maintain a hold on Neustria – and that was before the famine set in and several of his marcher lords found themselves fleeing their ancestral villas.

    The power structures in much of the old Roman Empire were unstable, and as Boniface V rode into Europe, the “Spymonger Pope” with his bottomless ambition faced challenges but also opportunities.

    Only Northern Europe – Angland, the Norse Countries, the Twin Crowns, and (to a far lesser extent) Germany would be able to escape much of the conflict that embroiled Europe. While Sweden was on the brink of their off-and-on contest over the Baltic with the Rusichi and Pommerania, and the Twin Crowns certainly sent soldiers, these states by and large had been less effected by the war and the various plagues and famines that followed. Their aristocracies were generally weaker and less entrenched, their societies both more mercantile and more democratic. Italia and Germania had suffered the desperation of being ravaged by war, and thus despite not subscribing to the Franco-Ispanian “sickness” as some historians have termed it, they nevertheless were gripped by peasant rebellions, zealotry, and superstition.

    Settling in Rome, Boniface first faced the threat of the Burgundian King, the clever and war-hardened Charles II. His contest with the old “Fist of the Boddists” – a wily zealot whose rise to power in some superficial ways mirrored Boniface’s own. Charles had, perhaps more than any other Great Name of Europe, won his throne by popularity. He was one of the greatest crowned heads of Europe, and now his soldiers had almost every major city and fortress in Italy, save Ravenna and the Xasar and African outposts. Even Rome had a garrison, although he was compelled to withdraw it rather quickly when the Pope softly hinted to the local Palatine, Tancred of Macon, that he would not be able to restrain the Italian mob if they decided to expel him. Tancred of Macon, being a clever man, saw that a few hundred mounted soldiers would be poorly suited in the cities, and withdrew to a fortified villa outside the city – a relic of the Xasar rule. That was enough for now.

    Next, the Pope hinted to the King that he would be willing to conduct a formal coronation of Charles II, granting him rule over Italy formally in a way that “certain figures” had never enjoyed. Few monarchs, after all, could claim that the Pope had given them their diadems…

    Charles II was quick to accept, and slowly it became apparent to the ailing monarchies of Europe that they had unleashed a monster.
     
  15. Hobelhouse The Cyberpunk Future is Now

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    Well, hmm.

    Sounds like the Pope is about to unleash the Catholic Iranian Revolution. Now the question is, will he be more of a Richelieu or more of a Savonarola?

    I'd be surprised if the Twin Crowns can entirely avoid being pulled into the Papacy's orbit completely, they are right next to the Papal Rhinelands. The more martial German aristocracy might be better able to resist that... I am curious that you mentioned Pomerania, is that another one of the outcomes of the Votive War?

    The fragmentation tendencies in India now are permanent, it looks like. I wonder, though, will it ever have its Hilters or mere Napoleons? The global colonialist game will have winners and losers. Someone who gets shout out of the colonial game might decide to even the scales closer to home. Basically... where are India's Germanies and Italies?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  16. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas Donor

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    I think that India's Germany is going to be situated somewhere in the OTL Punjab or more broadly along the indo-gangetic plain, where landlocking means land empire necessarily. However, more generally... it will be quite some time before its obvious who the winners and losers in the colonial game are.

    Currently, the Gurjars are doing quite well for themselves under the Mahratta [OTL Marathi], but there are other peoples, such as the Kannada and Malayalam haven't yet had their great national renaissances despite having their own distinct identities and prakits. The Chandratreya hegemony may eventually be rather grating on these nations/ethnic groups. The Tamil will never be easily knocked out of the game. There's a lot of room for pissed off peoples who didn't get in on the ground floor of colonialism.

    This whole world will have its Hitlers and Napoleons. There will of course be names that inspire that same kind of instant recognition. There will be plenty of atrocities. At some point I assume that we'll run rampant with technology and make some pretty terrible but hopefully not irreparable mistakes. The [TTL] Republic of China detonates the first nuclear weapon, bringing an end to the greatest war of all time, in which millions upon millions die. Shortly thereafter, several other states test their own weapons, and the world will never be the same.

    But humans are still humans. Shortsighted, driven by our guts, obsessed with pleasure now and damning the consequences. So we'll still fuck things up.


    Pomerania is an outcome of the Votive War. Poland... Poland didn't do well. I mean there's repeated mentions of Rusichi armies striking with impunity deep in Germany. The Rusichi "Assembly Armies" had a fun time overrunning pretty much anything in their path for the better part of a decade. Their Druxina started assuming they were pretty much invincible - and for a time they really were close to it. Then the bough broke and Europe clawed their way back.

    Also worth remembering that Denmark fought on the wrong side of the Great Votive War - although unofficially. They had no love of Poland and the German princes and managed to secure a lot of ground on the notion that they were protecting the free cities of the Baltic - conveniently the Rusichi never seemed to attack a place that flew Danish flags, and nobody wanted to look into it too much, since safe havens were a good thing for almost all concerned. Now that the war is over, a lot of people might be bitter that the Danish betrayed the common cause, but they were certainly not the only Christians to choose the wrong side.
     
  17. lefthandhummingbird New Member

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    Lovely reading. Two questions:

    (I) What is the fate of the Finns, Magyars, Mordvins, Komi, etc? Are they doomed to be absorbed by the Rusichi and Swedes, or are there movements toward some sort of self-organisation among them? If so, does this include any religious conversion to Christianity or Buddhism?

    (II) What are the drinking habits of this world? Beer is sometimes mentioned as a beverage in Iran. Has innovations such as hopping, cold storage, bottom fermentation and similar things been invented? The Iranian Yakhchal is an interesting type of early cold storage, which could be conducive to the development of lager-type beers in a world where alcohol consumption is common throughout the middle east. Has there been any experiments with distilled beverages? The manufacture of gunpowder is made much more efficient by the preparation of distilled spirits, and combined with the sugarcane grown in Southeast Asia I could imagine Indian rum becoming a thing.
     
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  18. Jon the Numbat Well-Known Member

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    These have been some very captivating updates! This era is really shaping into a transformative one and you've been doing a wonderful job at showing the diversity of, and challenges faced by all the peoples involved.

    Particularly striking for me is the fact that the powers of India have been fielding powerful armies in the hundreds of thousands over the century and are on the verge of facing this energy outward. In conjunction with their ever increasing technical sophistication, this development is especially ominous.
     
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  19. Practical Lobster scuttling across the floors of silent seas Donor

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    1) They're definitely still about, although on the periphery of such large and scary "friends" as the Rusichi and Swedes, they're not going to fare too well in the long run I expect. Keeping a distinct identity should still be possible however - the Magyars in particular wouldn't be the first steppe people to join the Rusichi and fare alright in the process.

    India OP, pls nerf. Thank you!

    I hope I'm capturing the idea of a suitably alien multipolar age of exploration. India will struggle with logistics in sending those armies overseas, but the sheer resources their states have at their disposal are certainly going to change the world. And what happens, I wonder, when they start needing lots and lots of industrial-era materials?
     
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  20. Jon the Numbat Well-Known Member

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    Between the Kitai exploratory missions, the Majachaiya preparing some of their own, the Atlantic mariners from Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, and trade around Cape Watya going both ways, I would definitely say so. The best part IMO is that they all have been built on foundations laid throughout the TL, and the regions were explored in detail as opposed to being written off.

    One thing is sure, when the transition does happen they'll find an expansive global trade network to tap into and plenty of allies and rivals just as willing to make a profit.
     
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