WI: Turks do not migrate

What if the Turkic nomads of Central Asia had not migrated into Anatolia, but rather stayed in Central Asia?
 

Xen

Banned
Nice new idea, perhaps they can still grow into a dominating society, allying with Russia to overthrow the Mongols, then fighting Russia for control of Siberia.
 
Xen said:
Nice new idea, perhaps they can still grow into a dominating society, allying with Russia to overthrow the Mongols, then fighting Russia for control of Siberia.
Wow. New? I figured it had probably been discussed before. Cool. :D

That's a very interesting idea. A strong Turkic empire originating in Central Asia and stretching into Siberia, and perhaps western China? If they still converted to Islam, they could probably annex the primarily Muslim western provinces of China, setting off conflicts with, most likely, the Ming Empire. With a strong Muslim enemy pestering them on their western border, they have less reasons to go isolationist.
 

NapoleonXIV

Banned
Some other wild possiblities:

1. Byzantium converts to Islam, either slowly or en masse due to pressure from the Abbasids, who remain in power, unaffected by Turks. Islam splits into three main branches, Sunni in Arabia, Shia in Persia and a sort of Islam/Christian amalgam based in Constantinople

2. Islam converts to Christianity. A resurgent Byzantium with no Turks to worry about sweeps change into a decaying Islam in the 11thc, through a combination of conquest and conversion by missionaries. Islam becomes a sect of Christianity spreading its influence throughout the whole religion.

3. Islam becomes a much smaller religion with influence mainly limited to Iraq, the Levant and Arabia. The conquering/converting impulse is much limited in comparison to OTL but the muslims become world famous as scholars and merchants, for the reason below.

In all three of the above scenarios the Arabs become a central figure in "Renaissance" history for it is they who must act as the middlemen or Indian/Chinese influence on Europe. The Mongols, kept in check by the non-migratory Turks, never arise to create the Empire which allows a land connection between Europe and China in the 13thc.

Conversely, the Turks create a more stable empire there much earlier. Arabia becomes a complete backwater and the Turks acquire the reputation of having saved civilization
 
NapoleonXIV said:
Some other wild possiblities:

2. Islam converts to Christianity. A resurgent Byzantium with no Turks to worry about sweeps change into a decaying Islam in the 11thc, through a combination of conquest and conversion by missionaries. Islam becomes a sect of Christianity spreading its influence throughout the whole religion.


Conversely, the Turks create a more stable empire there much earlier. Arabia becomes a complete backwater and the Turks acquire the reputation of having saved civilization
I like this one, which is quite new. Only problem I see is that from the dawn of time barbarians came howling out of Central Asia, to settle in better parts of the world. All the empires had to face this problem. What might be the reason for which the Turks suddenly decide that Central Asia is a nice place to stay, and raise the kids?
 

Xen

Banned
Perhaps they try to adventure out a couple of times, only to be slaughtered by armies of the outside world, the few survivors come back and tell of the atrocities, the chaos and the madness. For the next several centuries the Turks stay put having little to do with the outside world and deeply mistrustful of outsiders.
 
Xen said:
Perhaps they try to adventure out a couple of times, only to be slaughtered by armies of the outside world, the few survivors come back and tell of the atrocities, the chaos and the madness. For the next several centuries the Turks stay put having little to do with the outside world and deeply mistrustful of outsiders.
True, it may happen. But it happened in the past too (not all the invasions were successful, rather the contrary): the point was that the barbarians were continuously flowing against the ramparts of civilization until they gave way. If the civilized empire wins ten times in a row, it does not matter: sooner rather than later the population pressure in the steppes becomes too strong, and the barbarians come back. But if they win once, they stay and become the next empire.
The only way to solve the problem of nomadic, horse-mounted ordes is to bring farmers, rifles and railways were the use to graze their horses.
 

Xen

Banned
LordKalvan said:
True, it may happen. But it happened in the past too (not all the invasions were successful, rather the contrary): the point was that the barbarians were continuously flowing against the ramparts of civilization until they gave way. If the civilized empire wins ten times in a row, it does not matter: sooner rather than later the population pressure in the steppes becomes too strong, and the barbarians come back. But if they win once, they stay and become the next empire.
The only way to solve the problem of nomadic, horse-mounted ordes is to bring farmers, rifles and railways were the use to graze their horses.

Lets follow the defeat with a plague then. The plague wipes out 75% of the population, then a period of triablism keeping the various tribes warring among themselves for many generations. When and if they are re-united and attempt another invasion, it once again loses, though another plague isnt likely, so they may eventually venture out and gain some lands, perhaps the Turks take part of Siberia, Central Asia and parts of what is now eastern Iran and Pakistan as well as Afghanistan but not much further than that.
 
tetsu-katana said:
What if the Turkic nomads of Central Asia had not migrated into Anatolia, but rather stayed in Central Asia?
The problem is that there have been successive waves of nomads coming out of Central Asia for millenia for a reason - nomads are typically not very good at creating stable polities, and the migrating waves have been created by different groups pushing out others - for instance, the Turks overthrew the Avar empire due to an environmental catastrophe (Avars had horses, Turks had horses and cattle, cattle better at surviving famine), pushing them into Europe, etc.

There has never been a stable empire in Mongolia. It's possible to imagine a POD where the direction of migration is different - India is not really much of an option due to the mountains, but perhaps China is successively hammered and is unable to regain balance, and is heavily settled by Inner Asians.

This would be bad, bad news for Islam, which was looking pretty moribund by the 11th c and unable to cope with a resurgent Byzantieum. Eventually Christian reconquests would reignite the Muslim spirit, but it was the arrival of the Oghuz Turks that really tipped the balance.

While the Seljuks and Ottomans had nomadic pasts, they were really something quite new, absorbing and assimilating the advanced civilization of Islam and Byzantium. In a Turks-to-China scenario, it's hard to speculate how things would develop - China had a much more dense population and religions far less attractive to nomad than Islam, but perhaps we would end up with Buddhist Turks. It's possible - there are Buddhist Mongols in the Caucasus...
 
Xen said:
Perhaps they try to adventure out a couple of times, only to be slaughtered by armies of the outside world, the few survivors come back and tell of the atrocities, the chaos and the madness. For the next several centuries the Turks stay put having little to do with the outside world and deeply mistrustful of outsiders.
They aren't literate - they can only pass along spoken knowledge, and that won't last long!
 
Abdul Hadi Pasha said:
They aren't literate - they can only pass along spoken knowledge, and that won't last long!
As opposed to the tales of some Native American cultures, who despite having no language, could still pass down stories. Granted, many were forgotten, but your "won't last long" may be long enough.
 
"Eventually Christian reconquests would reignite the Muslim spirit, but it was the arrival of the Oghuz Turks that really tipped the balance."

How many inroads would the various Christian groups have made in the meantime? The Abbasid Caliphate is decaying, and warring constantly with the Fatamids. You could have the Normans sign up with one or the other and gain control of lots of territory that way. In OTL, the Normans had some bases in North Africa; perhaps in TTL North Africa (or at least the coast) gets fully conquered and (through missionary work and European immigration), re-Christianized.

Plus you've got the Church of the East (the Nestorians) in Central Asia, who had many converts among the steppe tribes (the Keriets, for example, were all Christians, along with many Uighurs). The Turkic tribes might end up becoming Christians if they stayed in Central Asia, with less Islamic influence from the Arab world.

Hmm...how about the following scenario?

Normans and the Knights of Malta ally with the Abbasid Caliphate and conquer a sizable hunk of North Africa (say, from Morocco to the borders of Egypt, which I imagine the Abbasids could take care of), putting an end to the piratical raids that had troubled Europe and establishing a much larger version of the Crusader states (in a different place). Lots of European lesser nobles settle there, as do merchants who wish to reassemble the old trade routes. The Papacy puts lots of $$ into missionary efforts. Within a couple of generations, Muslims are a minority; perhaps Islam is the faith of the nomadic peoples in the deep desert, but the settled folks are all Christians.

However, since North Africans have historically adopted schismatic versions of the dominant faith to assert their independence (first the Donatists, then various anti-Caliphal Muslim sects), perhaps TTL's Reformation will be strong here. A quasi-Protestant North Africa?

Meanwhile, the Nestorians actively evangelize the Turkic peoples. Over the course of years, they migrate into China and (a smaller #) through the passes into India, linking up with their co-religionists of the Malabar Coast. Northern India and China get Christianized in a pattern similar to the Islamification of Asia Minor.

Hmm...in OTL, the title "Sultan" was given to the Seljuk king by the Abbasid Caliph. Perhaps we have Turkic rulers in India becoming Rajahs and in China, a Turkish Son of Heaven?
 
Matt Quinn said:
"Eventually Christian reconquests would reignite the Muslim spirit, but it was the arrival of the Oghuz Turks that really tipped the balance."

How many inroads would the various Christian groups have made in the meantime? The Abbasid Caliphate is decaying, and warring constantly with the Fatamids. You could have the Normans sign up with one or the other and gain control of lots of territory that way. In OTL, the Normans had some bases in North Africa; perhaps in TTL North Africa (or at least the coast) gets fully conquered and (through missionary work and European immigration), re-Christianized.

Plus you've got the Church of the East (the Nestorians) in Central Asia, who had many converts among the steppe tribes (the Keriets, for example, were all Christians, along with many Uighurs). The Turkic tribes might end up becoming Christians if they stayed in Central Asia, with less Islamic influence from the Arab world.

Hmm...how about the following scenario?

Normans and the Knights of Malta ally with the Abbasid Caliphate and conquer a sizable hunk of North Africa (say, from Morocco to the borders of Egypt, which I imagine the Abbasids could take care of), putting an end to the piratical raids that had troubled Europe and establishing a much larger version of the Crusader states (in a different place). Lots of European lesser nobles settle there, as do merchants who wish to reassemble the old trade routes. The Papacy puts lots of $$ into missionary efforts. Within a couple of generations, Muslims are a minority; perhaps Islam is the faith of the nomadic peoples in the deep desert, but the settled folks are all Christians.

However, since North Africans have historically adopted schismatic versions of the dominant faith to assert their independence (first the Donatists, then various anti-Caliphal Muslim sects), perhaps TTL's Reformation will be strong here. A quasi-Protestant North Africa?

Meanwhile, the Nestorians actively evangelize the Turkic peoples. Over the course of years, they migrate into China and (a smaller #) through the passes into India, linking up with their co-religionists of the Malabar Coast. Northern India and China get Christianized in a pattern similar to the Islamification of Asia Minor.

Hmm...in OTL, the title "Sultan" was given to the Seljuk king by the Abbasid Caliph. Perhaps we have Turkic rulers in India becoming Rajahs and in China, a Turkish Son of Heaven?
I think you may be overrating the "Church of the East". Also, it seems highly unlikely the Normans would ever ally with a Muslim power - I don't think this was possible at the time, especially as S. Italy was a fiefdom subject to the Pope. I believe Francis I was the first Christian to ally with Muslims (Ottomans under Suleyman), and even that he did secretly and got a lot of flak for it.

I was actually thinking that the Byzantines would be the gainers - Perhaps the E. Med coast could be regained - Egypt would probably be a bit much.

Your scenario probably still largely works though - although I'm not sure how well Normans would do in N. Africa - they're so pale and pasty and it's really hot there.
 

Leo Caesius

Banned
Matt Quinn said:
Within a couple of generations, Muslims are a minority; perhaps Islam is the faith of the nomadic peoples in the deep desert, but the settled folks are all Christians.

However, since North Africans have historically adopted schismatic versions of the dominant faith to assert their independence (first the Donatists, then various anti-Caliphal Muslim sects), perhaps TTL's Reformation will be strong here. A quasi-Protestant North Africa?
Actually, Matt, those nomadic people in the deep desert only came to Islam fairly recently; as I understand it they were pagan (in some cases with a superficial Islamic veneer) until modern times. Islamification (and Arabization, if that's the proper term) began on the coast and slowly spread into the interior.

Any brand of Christianity that comes out of North Africa will have little to do with Protestantism. For starters, North Africa was a basket of various "heretical" religions at the time of the Islamic conquest - Donatists, Manichaeans, and the aforementioned pagans. The cult of the saints and veneration of one's ancestors is likely to continue long after the Reformation. Certainly the North Africans would probably seize the opportunity and wrangle out from under Rome's thumb, but they'd probably proceed in the exact opposite direction - rather than reforming, they'd fall back upon their own native traditions.

Speaking of Manichaeans, if the Turks remain in Central Asia, is there any chance for a strong Manichaean state (like the Uyghurs) to survive? It was my impression that the Manichaeans were much more successful out there than the Nestorians ever were.
 
I borrowed a book entitled "The Church of the East: A Concise History" from my college's library, and it describes how, at their highest point, the Nestorians had millions of adherents throughout Persia, Central Asia, and China.

This book, "By Foot to China," tells of their activities as well.

http://www.aina.org/books/bftc/bftc.pdf

If it weren't for Tamerlane killing huge numbers of them (the reason that the modern-day Assyrians, their descendants, live in Kurdistan is b/c they found protection in the mountains), I'd expect them to keep growing. They were very evangelical.

Leo brings up a good point about the Manichees; they were quite active in Central Asia and the Far East as well. Many of my sources on the Nestorians tell about how that was their big competitor, especially in their efforts to evangelize the tribes such as the Uighurs on the borders of China.

How about we divide the Turkic peoples in our very own (ecclesiastical) Nazi-Soviet Pact? The western Turkic peoples will move southward into India and establish a Nestorian Christian state (or series of states, like the Turkic emirates in Asia Minor). The eastern Turkic peoples will largely be Manichean (though I believe the Kereits were Christians at this time...perhaps they can get exterminated in a religious war or get exiled into the West) and they'll conquer and settle China.

That good?
 
"Any brand of Christianity that comes out of North Africa will have little to do with Protestantism. For starters, North Africa was a basket of various "heretical" religions at the time of the Islamic conquest - Donatists, Manichaeans, and the aforementioned pagans. The cult of the saints and veneration of one's ancestors is likely to continue long after the Reformation. Certainly the North Africans would probably seize the opportunity and wrangle out from under Rome's thumb, but they'd probably proceed in the exact opposite direction - rather than reforming, they'd fall back upon their own native traditions."

Hmm...perhaps some sort of neo-Donatism, as a reaction to the corruption of the clergy pre-Reformation, appears in North Africa? It ties into the native tradition of veneration of the martyrs (perhaps they venerate some scientists burnt @ the stake and the Scientific Revolution starts in Carthage?) and has some similar precedents to the original Donatism...the original was a reaction against clergy who has apostasized under Roman pressure during the persecution of (I believe) Diocletion.

I think that the mass evangelization of North Africa could be a purifying influence on the Church at the time, as comfy, fat, corrupt clergymen leave their sinecure-parishes and go off to do good in heathen lands. That might delay the Reformation awhile, as it might take some time for the "spiritual recharge" to wear off.
 
"Your scenario probably still largely works though - although I'm not sure how well Normans would do in N. Africa - they're so pale and pasty and it's really hot there."

They'll adapt, just as the Crusaders did in OTL (according to some of my sources, a lot of the Crusaders adopted Arab dress and habits b/c of the conditions in the Holy Land). Granted, I'd expect that to take awhile and have its difficulties, so perhaps the weak ones will go home and those who stay there to rule will be real hard-core types.

How did the Norman regimes in North Africa do before the local Islamic powers got together to crush them?

And if the Normans won't work, perhaps some sort of Christian resurgence in Spain could provide the manpower for a war of conquest in North Africa? They chase the Moors out, and follow them into North Africa to make darn sure they never come back.

"Actually, Matt, those nomadic people in the deep desert only came to Islam fairly recently; as I understand it they were pagan (in some cases with a superficial Islamic veneer) until modern times. Islamification (and Arabization, if that's the proper term) began on the coast and slowly spread into the interior."

Oops. I suppose then that perhaps the (re-)Christianization of North Africa will begin on the coast and filter inland over the course of generations. Perhaps "going out into the desert" to proselytize the pagans will affect the development of the neo-Donatists in our future scenario.

"Also, it seems highly unlikely the Normans would ever ally with a Muslim power - I don't think this was possible at the time, especially as S. Italy was a fiefdom subject to the Pope. I believe Francis I was the first Christian to ally with Muslims (Ottomans under Suleyman), and even that he did secretly and got a lot of flak for it."

How much respect did the Pope get @ this point? I recall Popes being besieged at various points by "good Catholics" over political matters. Or, perhaps some Fatimid pirates kill the Pope, outraging the Catholic world. There's a Crusade called against the Fatimids, which leads to some cooperation with the Abbasids and even the survivors of the Ummayyads in Spain. The alliance with one Islamic power against the other isn't such a big deal b/c they've got to avenge the Vicar of Christ.

Good call on the Byzantines. Perhaps they'll take advantage of the turmoil in the Med and the diversion of Abbasid forces into a war in Egypt and North Africa to invade Syria and take over. This could lead to a five-corner conflict amongst the Med powers (the Catholics, Spanish Muslims, and Abbasids against the Fatimids and Byzantines), but I'd prefer to avoid that, as then nobody would be keeping the Turks out.

Hmm...I smell the beginnings of a TL.

The POD will have to be the defeat of some of the earliest Turkish incursions into the Arab or Byzantine lands. Perhaps without the troubles caused by the Turkish-backed resurgent Abbasids (Alp Arslan was fighting the Fatimids at the time in support of a Sunni revolt in Egypt led by a fellow Turks), the Fatimids can concentrate on fighting over the Mediterranean islands with the Christian powers, which will lead to the death of the Pope.

Better?
 

Leo Caesius

Banned
There were, of course, Buddhist Turks as well - before they became Muslim, it seems, the Turks were as experimental religiously as the Koreans are today - in fact, even today Turkey is quite diverse as far as Islamic sects go.

I believe that the Normans would do quite well in Algeria and particularly in Tunisia - the Vandals did, after all. Some Sicilians are quite obviously descended from Normans and the climate isn't all that different. I believe that Don Fabrizio Salina, the protagonist of Lampedusa's Gattopardo, is one such character.

A Christian nation with a desert hinterland might breathe new life into Christian monasticism and asceticism.
 
A Christian nation with a desert hinterland might breathe new life into Christian monasticism and asceticism.

True, but you don't need a desert environment to have asceticism. The Irish developed a thriving ascetic monastic culture in a very wet environment.
 
True, Paul, but the Sahara Desert is a FAR more ascetic environment than anything in Europe other than perhaps Scandinavia could provide. Christianized North Africa could probably be a hotbed of really hard-core ascetic folks.
 
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