The Song of Roland

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ok. this is just the prologue of my timeline, the rest will start as soon as my uni term is over. i think this, and the title give a hint to what it is, but i am also experimenting with a narrative style of writing a timeline.

- - -

The old man sat at the campfire, poking at the flames with a stick. Deep in the forest, it was quiet, apart from the occasional gust of wind. If you listened closely, you could hear sounds on the wind, the briefest of sounds:

The first cries of a newborn babe

The clash of swords

The neighing of a horse in pain

The shouts of the wounded

The echoing bellow of a horn

The cheering of the crowd

The cough of the dying

The endless murmur of prayer

The sound of gunfire

The hissing crackle of a radio signal sent across great distance

The last gasp of a dying man


As the man watched the flames, he could see the glimpses of images in the fire

The storming of a walled city, sitting on a river

A vast army marching through the snow

A king being crowned an Emperor in the most holy of cities

An old man in armour falling from a horse, felled by a lone arrow

An echoing hall, filled with hundreds of nobles

The Christian Cross rising over the Jerusalem, the city in flames

Knights clashing in the desert sun

Barbarians from the steppe, crushing a dying Empire

The march of peasants in revolt


There was the sound of footsteps on the soft moss of the forest floor. Looking up from his fire, the man saw a middle aged man in armour standing in front of him. The front of his armour was torn, as if by an arrow. His horse was standing behind him, tethered to a tree. The old man at the fire smiled, stood up, and bowed.

“Emperor Charlemagne the First. Please, take a seat by my fire. You have been expected.”

Charlemagne frowned. “Your words are strange to me, and yet I can understand them. My body is younger too, my bones do not ache. What sorcery is this?”

“It is of no consequence. Please, sit.” The man gestured to a log, to which Charlemagne lowered himself.

“Now tell me Charlemagne, of your campaign in the County of Barcelona.”
 

Darkest

Banned
I always loved your Song of Roland timeline, Scarecrow. The concept was very intriguing. I'm looking forward to it.
 
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes
Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.
N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;

Mur ne citet n'i est remes a fraindre,
Fors Sarraguce, ki est en une muntaigne.
Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet;
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet guarder que mals ne l'i ateignet



http://www.fh-augsburg.de/~harsch/gallica/Chronologie/11siecle/Roland/rol_ch00.html for the rest
for those of us who dont know french

‘Our sovereign Charles, the mighty emperor,
Seven long years has been on Spanish soil
And conquered that proud land right to the sea:
It has no fortress that can still resist,
No wall unbreached, no city unsubdued
Save Saragossa on its mountain top’

dont have lines seven or eight on me though:eek:
 
An auspicious start Scarecrow, I look forward to the TL.
thanks!

depending how fast i write the essays, the Cycle of Charlemagne should start in about...a weeks time. I still need to fight the battle between level of 'buttiflycation' vs 'vauge idea for what i want this timeline to do.'
 

Thande

Donor
Oh goody! :cool: Scarecrow's finally doing it!

Question: Was Charlemagne actually referred to as 'Charlemagne' in his lifetime rather than Charles?
 

Thande

Donor
thanks!

depending how fast i write the essays, the Cycle of Charlemagne should start in about...a weeks time. I still need to fight the battle between level of 'buttiflycation' vs 'vauge idea for what i want this timeline to do.'
I'd go for Vague Idea.
 
Oh goody! :cool: Scarecrow's finally doing it!

Question: Was Charlemagne actually referred to as 'Charlemagne' in his lifetime rather than Charles?
well considering that it got put on my AH.com wikipedia page, i thought i had better make a start.
Seems more ppl thought i would do it them i did:rolleyes:

I'd go for Vague Idea.
yeah, but use buttuflycation to achive certain things;) :cool:
 
Song of Charlemagne, part one

ok, the first part of the 'Song of Charlemange' which is the first part of the timeline. each 'Song' will cover one major part of history. This one, for example covers Charlemanges life from 777 to 814 (eventualy)

- - -

Spain. When the Roman Empire had fallen in the West, the Visigoths had established for themselves a kingdom on the peninsular. It survived for…a while. Until the arrival of Saracen armies of the Caliph in 711. So weak and centralised were the Visigoths, that when their king was slain in battle, the kingdom fell apart. A year later, the entire peninsular, save the Asturias and Navarre was under Saracen control. With Spain under control, the Saracen armies raided north: These raiders were ended in 732, where the Saracen army was routed by Charles Martel.
The ruler of Spain, the emir, resided in Cordova, and maintained a certain level of independence, which became total in 756. In the centre of the Caliphate, a dispute arose over the succession, and the Umayyad’s were overthrown by the Abbasids, a group descended from the uncle of Mohammad. Only one Umayyad survived the massacre at Baghdad. He made his way to Spain, where he took the title of Emir.

Abd ar-Rahman’s rule was never easy. Frequent rebellions by Abbasid agents disrupted his rule.
In 777, the governor of Barcelona, Suleiman, went to Paderborn, where Charlemagne was holding an assembly, in order to impress the Saxons, who did not want to roll over and play dead. The presence of Suleiman delighted Charlemagne, and would no doubt show the Saxons how important he was. Suleiman was not an embassy for his Umayyad master. He came at his own free will.

Suleiman had been involved in the negotiations with Pepin, Charlemagne’s father, about possible action against the surviving Umayyad. Suleiman, a supporter of the Abbasids, had declared that he would rather live under the infidel then live under Umayyad rule.
He promised to turn over to Charlemagne all the cities he ruled, along with the great fortress of Saragossa (ah, Saragossa), which he promised to take with his own forces. An Abbasid army was assembling in the Maghreb, and it would move against Abd al-Rahman at the same time as Charlemagne. Once victory was assured, Suleiman would submit to Charlemagne, and all the lands north of the River Ebro (which flows majestically through the heart of northern Spain).

How could Charlemagne refuse? As a Christian Ruler, it was his duty to extend Christendom by the sword, and was bound to free the Spanish Christians living under heathen rule.

In 778, Charlemagne mustered his army in Aquitaine. It was the largest army he had mustered till then, comprised not just of his own Austrasians, along with troops from Aquitaine and Septimania, the lands closest to Spain, but troops from Lombardy and Burgundy. The lure of carrying off some nice gold lured even the Bavarians, who had thrown of Frankish allegiance earlier under Duke Tassilo.

The invading army split in two, one force going rather easily through the pass of Puigerda, to the north of Barcelona. Charlemagne however, took a route more to the west, through the Pass of Roncesvalles, and across Navarre to Pampelona, where the two armies would meet.

Navarre. Inhabited by Basques, who attacked all and showed allegiance to none. Franks, Saracen and Austrians had perished at the hands of those deadly, deadly mountain folk.
On this occasion, the Basque left the army alone.
The two forces were supposed to meet outside of Pampelona, except when Charlemagne arrived there he got a nasty shock. Although Christian, the city was held against him, forcing him to take the city by force. While many Spanish Christians were discontent with Muslim rule, some where quite content. Now Charlemagne had to change his opinion of those dastardly Spaniards, who were content to live under a Muslim government that tolerated those who were people of the Book. Bastards.

At Pampelona, Charlemagne accepted the submission of several Saracen chiefs, when news of Suleiman’s capturing of Saragossa reached him. With his army now united, Charlemagne marched on Saragossa. Arriving at the conquered city, Suleiman handed the city over to the Franks. [1]

- - -

Charlemagne looked at Suleiman, who was standing in front of him, a translator hovering at his side. Goblet in hand, Charlemagne sighed and asked;
“Would you care to explain yourself Suleiman?”
“My lord, the Berbers disagree with what action we should take. Abd ar-Rahman prepares an army, waiting for our forces to make a mistake. Our capture of Saragossa has sent a message to those chiefs who haven’t made up their mind, and the Emirate is on the very of tearing itself apart. If we wait and act only on the defensive, then ar-Rhman’s forces will be torn apart. The Berbers disagree, wanting to seize as much land. Already another army is being prepared in the Maghrib, waiting to cross Gibraltar. They want only land for themselves.”

“I disagree my lord.” Said Roland. “ar-Rahman is mustering an army and we should strike him now, before his forces are complete. If we present a united attack against ar-Rahman, then the peninsular will collapse. With the state that Saxony is in, we cannot afford to keep too much of our army here. A quick, sharp defeat of ar-Rahman will lead to terms of peace suitable for us. Let the Mohammadians fight amongst themselves for the scraps afterwards, the Elbo river and Saragossa present a better boundary to defend then the open land further south. There are pagans closer to home that need to be subdued first.”

Charlemagne nodded at this. News had reached him that the Saxons were causing problems again: while his army was in the south, which was unacceptable. Spending more time in Spain only strengthened those dastardly pagans.

“Assemble the generals; we will strike at ar-Rahman before he can strike at us.”

- - -

It was several weeks later, and Charlemagne was on campaign, and constantly disgruntled. All the Berbers did was argue with Suleiman, who had seemed to have forgotten what his role in the war was. Suleiman had promised Charlemagne his vassalage once the war was won, and that meant that he was Charlemagne’s vassal now. Suspicion was growing that Suleiman was trying to use both the Berbers and Charlemagne for his own means. Twice Charlemagne had bypassed Suleiman to talk with the Berbers in the coordination of the campaign.
So far, the war had gone well. Charlemagne and his defacto Berber allies had met Abd ar-Rahman outside Calateyud. After a day of fighting, ar-Rahman had been routed, his son taken as a hostage.
Things were not going well for ar-Rahman. The governor of Valencia had declared their allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph, and the city of Toledo had risen in revolt. Outside of the Umayyad Emirate, the seizure of Saragossa and the battle of Calateyud had stirred forces into action.
Two noblemen stood in front of Charlemagne now were embassy’s from the surviving Christian Kingdom on the Iberian peninsular; the Kingdom of the Asturias.

“Our King Alphonse wishes to seek an alliance with you, oh great Charlemagne, to crush the Saracen pagans.” Said the first noble. Tact does not seem to be in the Asturian vocabulary.

“Your fighting prowess proceeds you, Asturian. Both Covadonga and the capture of Leon”[2] Replied Charlemagne, and listened to what the men had to say.

- - -

[1] This is the POD btw. IOTL, Saragossa was never conquered by Suleiman. Everything else is OTL.

[2] Charlemagne is referring to the battle of the valley of Covadonga, where the Asturians achieved total victory over the Moors. Since Moorish sources claim that the victory was theirs, we can assume a slight bias in both sources. The reference to the capture of Leon is…the Capture of the city of Leon.
 
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes
Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.
N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;

Mur ne citet n'i est remes a fraindre,
Fors Sarraguce, ki est en une muntaigne.
Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet;
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet guarder que mals ne l'i ateignet

for those of us who dont know french
‘Our sovereign Charles, the mighty emperor,
Seven long years has been on Spanish soil
And conquered that proud land right to the sea:
It has no fortress that can still resist,
No wall unbreached, no city unsubdued
Save Saragossa on its mountain top’

dont have lines seven or eight on me though:eek:
The last 4 lines look like (at a guess: French that long ago is very different from modern French):-

Save Saragossa, which is on a mountain.
The king of Marseilles holds it, who does not love God;
he serves Muhammad and (appeals to?) (Apollo? Apollyon?):
He cannot keep what evil does not reach.
 
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes
Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.
N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;

Mur ne citet n'i est remes a fraindre,
Fors Sarraguce, ki est en une muntaigne.
Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet;
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet guarder que mals ne l'i ateignet



The last 4 lines look like (at a guess: French that long ago is very different from modern French):-

Save Saragossa, which is on a mountain.
The king of Marseilles holds it, who does not love God;
he serves Muhammad and (appeals to?) (Apollo? Apollyon?):
He cannot keep what evil does not reach.
i think that last part is right from memory, fairly certain the line goes

he serves Muhammad and appeals to Apollo:cool:
 
Interesting:) , the situation in the Cordoba emirate and after calipahte was ever more or less subject to internal tensions and rebellions that in OTL probably would have two important peaks during the reign of Abd Allah (888-912) and finally after the murdering of Abd Al-Malik al Muzaffar son of Almanzor in 1008 that begin the decline of Cordoba Caliphate until his fall in 1031.

So in this TL with a victory of Charlemagne we probably would see some kind of taifization of Cordoba Caliphate at least in the zone of Levant (from Saragossa to Murcia) also in OTL there was an autonomous christian kingdom centered in Orihuela (Murcia) after the capitulations between Todmir the visigothic count that commanded this region, caused by the hard resistance of the visigoths during the muslim invasion of the visigothic kingdom in this area the arabs accepted the formation of an autonomous christian area in Murcia and Alicante, the most part of information about Teodomiro or Todmir is in castillian -spanish- in the web and in my books, in wikipedia we have:

"
Teodomiro, or Theodemir, cited by contemporary Arabs as Tudmir sometimes Tadmir, was a Visigothic count from the VIII century. He was governor of an Eastern region of the Iberian peninsula (in the current Spanish provinces of Alicante and Murcia). He fought against the Muslims when they invaded the Iberian peninsula, but finally capitulated in 713 AD signing the Treaty of Orhuela, which allowed the region to keep some autonomy. Tudmir died in 743 AD.
When the moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 the Visigothic count Theodemir defended the mountain passes of Murcia for some time with great valour and prudence. But at last, he over-confidently engaged in a pitched battle on the plain against the more numerous Moorish forces and his army was cut to pieces.
Theodemir escaped with a single page to the city of Orihuela. There he practised an ingenious deception upon his pursuers. Having hardly any men left in the city, for the youth of Murcia had fallen in the field, he made the women put on male attire, arm themselves with helmets and long rods like lances, and bring their hair over their chins as though they wore beards. Then he lined the ramparts with this strange garrison, and when the enemy approached in the shades of evening, they were disheartened to see the walls so well defended. Theodemir then took a flag of truce in his hand, and put a herald's tunic on his page, and the two sallied forth to capitulate, and were graciously received by the Moorish general, who did not recognize the prince. "I come," said Theodemir, "on behalf of the commander of this city to treat for terms worthy of your magnanimity and of his dignity. You perceive that the city is capable of withstanding a long siege; but he is desirous of sparing the lives of his soldiers. Promise that the inhabitants shall be at liberty to depart unmolested with their property, and the city will be delivered up to you to-morrow morning without a blow; otherwise we me prepared to fight until not a man be left." The articles of capitulation were then rawn out; and when the Moor had affixed his seal, Theodemir took the pen and wrote his signature. "Behold in me," said he, "the governor of the city!" At the dawn of day the gates were thrown open, and the Moslems looked to see a great force issuing forth, but beheld merely Theodemir and his page, in battered armour, followed by a multitude of old men, women, and children. "Where are the soldiers," asked the Moor, "that I saw lining the walls last evening?" "Soldiers have I none," answered Theodemir. "As to my garrison, behold it before you. With these women did I man my walls; and this page is my herald, guard, and retinue!" So struck was the Moorish general with the boldness and ingenuity of the trick which had been played upon him, that he made Theodemir governor of the province of Murcia, which was ever afterwards known in Arabic as "Theodemir's land."

But in the castillian -spanish- version of wikipedia we have more information:

"
Teodomiro (en árabe Tudmir) conde visigodo del siglo VIII, gobernador de la Provincia Carthaginense y posteriormente con la dominación visigoda gobernó a título de rey un territorio cristiano visigodo autónomo dentro de Al-Andalus, denominado Cora de Tudmir, territorio que abarca aproximadamente en la actualidad la provincia de Alicante y la Región de Murcia.
Las investigaciones que se están llevando a cabo (en los últimos años del siglo XX y primeros del XXI), tanto arqueológicas como de documentación escrita, vienen a demostrar que existió un Reino de Tudmir del rey visigodo Teodomiro desde 713 al 825; que fue luego 825 hasta el 1031 una antigua provincia o kora (Kura, chora) del territorio de al-Andalus, creada seguramente tras las reformas adiministrativas impulsadas por Abderramán I ('Abd al-Rahman) al proclamar el emirato independiente; siguió siendo así en la época Omeya, y disuelta definitivamente por la retirada de las ciudades al interior por las amenazas Danesas y Noruegas de vándalos, vikingos y otras tribús en el 844. Se dividió en el Taifa de Murcia, Taifa de Denia (más Baleares) y parte del Taifa de Granada (910-1031).
Del reino, inicialmente su capital era Carthago Spartaria (Cartagena), dado que antes de ser reino era la provincia visigoda de la Carthaginense, y al poco pasó la capitalidad a la ciudad de Orihuela y ocupaba el territorio de la actual Región de Murcia; provincia de Alicante (completa); Castelló de Rugat (Valencia, y algunos dudan que hasta Jativa/Xativa); la mitad de la provincia de Albacete (de Elche de la Sierra a Chinchilla de Monte-Aragón); los Velez de Almería; Huercal de Granada y parte de Jaén. La capital militar se cambió a Murcia y luego a Villena.
La cora ocupaba el territorio de la actual Región de Murcia, la provincia de Alicante, en el sureste de España, Hellín y parte de Albacete, etc. El nombre hace referencia a Teodomiro, el Rey visigodo que gobernaba estas tierras desde Orihuela, a la llegada de los musulmanes a la Península Ibérica, quien pactó con ellos la entrega de las principales ciudades de dicho territorio a cambio de que se respetaran las vidas y propiedades de sus habitantes mediante el pago de un impuesto anual. El pacto se firmó en abril de 713 d.C. entre Teodomiro y Abdelaziz (‘Abd al-‘Azîz ibn Musa) (hijo del moro Muza de las crónicas cristianas) y comprendía siete ciudades entre las que se encontraban Orihuela, Lorca, Mula, Alicante, Begastri y otras que ofrecen dudas a los especialistas, (que algunos identifican con Elche, Valencia, o la antigua Ilunum romana. La firma de este pacto dio lugar a un territorio con total autonomía (a excepción del pago de impuestos y la obligación de entregar a moros "traidores").
Durante algún tiempo La Cora de Tudmir también era el topónimo con que se conocía a toda la región, con capital en Madinat al-Mursiya (Murcia, tras su fundación en el año 825 d.C. por orden de Abderramán II (Abd al-Rahman).
El pacto firmado por Teodomiro parece que dejó de tener vigor con la instalación en el territorio de una parte del yund o tropas sirias llegadas a al-Andalus unos años antes desde Ifriquiya (provincia del norte de África). En cualquier caso cuando Abderramán I creó la nueva división administrativa parece que el pacto no estaba en uso."

Basically according the article (that also surprised me because I believed that after the dead of Teodomiro in 743 the pact had been forgotten) the autonomous kingdom existed until 825, so if Charlemagne defeats Abderraman and the Levant is lost for Abderrahman because rebellions, is possible than this christian kingdom could be truly independent. (even if Charlemagne is disposed to make some kind of deep expedition into Cordoba Caliphate some kind of Teodomiro kingdom uprising could happen if frank troops are near)
 
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