Alternate History Vivat Stilicho!

The Senate could always do the collective vs individual vote thing done by the real Holy Roman Empire's Diet. So like the cities and lesser nobility of, say an entire Imperial Diocese get "benches" from which a single vote is made. Or for that matter, the British House of Lords before its total neutering, where the peers got to vote for a small selection from among their number to sit.

As for the Caucasian War, if the Romans are able to hold a border at the Kuban, all the future cities of the region might switch river banks. Most the real life Kuban cities are on the right bank because that's where the Russian Empire built a line of forts after taking that bank in 1783, and took decades more to conquer Circassia on the left bank. Speaking of which, the name Circassian is probably popularized by Russia, and without the Russian conquest, those tribes and principalities might be known by their own name of Adyghe, or Jiqi as the Georgians call them.

The Americas though, following the Irish route is highly inefficient, but intentionally sailing west from the Canaries is pretty crazy when the wind and current won't let you turn back. Maybe general knowledge that Aloysiana is a thing has led people blown off course to Brazil to try heading north to find the Irish settlements and chart the path that way?
 
Farewell Hasan, your hijinks will be missed.

It will be interesting to see what this new age of exploration will bring, not just new routes to Aloysiana, but perhaps also a routes on the African coast, though I doubt they will reach Cape Good Hope anytime soon, much less past it. Cape Verde is still undiscovered at this time and I think it's the same for Azores.
 
Farewell Hasan, your hijinks will be missed.

It will be interesting to see what this new age of exploration will bring, not just new routes to Aloysiana, but perhaps also a routes on the African coast, though I doubt they will reach Cape Good Hope anytime soon, much less past it. Cape Verde is still undiscovered at this time and I think it's the same for Azores.
Undiscovered by romans.Phoenicians,Carthage,Greeks - all sailed to some western islands behind Canaries,which probably was carribean.
And,Columbus knew where to go - ge sailed staright West from Canaries during day and night for two monts - after which he started stop on nights.
Which mean,that he rougly knew where Carribeans were.

Now,Moors and spaniards would together go there.Probably to Brasil,too.
But,becouse there were not bloody idiot Aztecs there yet,they would not conqer everything in few years.

Hakon is doomed - but,precisely becouse of that,he could sail to America northern road.Kick irish asses there,pelagians and indians,too,and...probably become pelagian himself.Or rater his descendents.

It would be funny,if only surviving pelagians in 2024 here would be vikings !
 
RE: sailing down Africa, historically the Portuguese found a point at which they can't sail south of because near the coast, the winds and current will uncontrollable push ships southwest (towards Brazil). Historically, the Portuguese got around this by pioneering deep sea navigation, as well away from the coast, there were occasional winds that could take a ship south.

The thing is though, I wonder if a galley in the same situation as the caravels and Naus can't just literally row south. If Hanno did make it that far, presumably that's how he did it when the Portuguese couldn't at first.
 
RE: sailing down Africa, historically the Portuguese found a point at which they can't sail south of because near the coast, the winds and current will uncontrollable push ships southwest (towards Brazil). Historically, the Portuguese got around this by pioneering deep sea navigation, as well away from the coast, there were occasional winds that could take a ship south.

The thing is though, I wonder if a galley in the same situation as the caravels and Naus can't just literally row south. If Hanno did make it that far, presumably that's how he did it when the Portuguese couldn't at first.
Indeed.phoenicians hired by faraon Necho in 600 BC take 3 years to go araund Africa,probably becouse they must use oars against bad currents and winds.
 
@Circle of Willis , i recently read about Tolteks - they created their empire with capitol in Tula about 900AD,and they would have civil war between Teztaclipoca who win and later become god of war,and Queatzilatl who lost,run to Yukatan/Chichen itza/ in 987 AD.And also become hailed as god.

If spaniards and maurs come during that civil war,they could use it to their advantage and win - especially that Toltecs were almost as hated as later Aztecs,so most neighbours would help newcomers.

Lack of powder is not big problem,major shock for indians were horses,and they arleady have calvary.
Not to mention,that both crossbows and bows were better against soft target like Tolteks.Who fought to take prisoners,when Maurs would fight to kill.


So,before 1000AD,Maurs could get their new kingdom there.
 
966-970: Senatus Populusque Europeanus
966 brought with it new steps in Aloysius VI’s plans for Senatorial reform. In order to simultaneously balance budgetary concerns, seating capacity in an expanded Tabularium and the nobility’s demand for prestigious sinecures for their younger children & brothers who stood to inherit nothing, the Emperor definitively nailed down the number of Senators at 1,200. Half of these were reserved for the Western and Eastern imperial cores with 250 seats to each, 100 for clerical representatives, and the remaining half distributed among the federates proportionate to both their power and the amount of time they have been part of the Empire: this resulted in the likes of Africa & Hispania attaining 100 seats apiece while the Cilician Bulgarians would have only 10 Senators with which to make their voice heard.

The Church’s Senators – bishops, Papal legates, canons and other clerics of prominent rank chosen by their Pope & Patriarchs – were seated & expected to vote as a distinct bloc with its own interests rather than being separated on the basis of nationality as some of the federate princes had advocated, as Aloysius believed they would be more useful as a counterweight against the aspirations of the secular kings rather than their puppets. The traditional Senatorial families could nominate new Senators from their ranks for their respective imperial half’s seats and the federate kings could do the same (either from their own royal houses or those of their noble vassals) for their own kingdom’s. Additionally the Senate would have the right to vote on accepting, censuring & expelling members of their assembly; however the Emperor retained the final say over new appointments, and could also appoint men from outside the established nobility (Senatorial or otherwise), usually honored veterans of the crusades or other great wars (or their relatives).

In order to accommodate the over-thousand-strong assembly, plans for the expansion of the Tabularium were finalized and work began on making them into a reality. Formerly ‘just’ a great archive of Roman bureaucratic records on the Capitoline Hill, the new (and now permanently so) meeting house of the Senate in Rome was to retain that role as well even as it was expanded to absorb the Temples of Vespasian and Concord, both of which had been closed long ago when Rome abandoned paganism and were consequently left in a state of increasing disrepair. The temples’ facades were preserved, but their main bodies were effectively fused together (and their rear areas merged into the Tabularium) to create a suitably large meeting chamber & offices for the Senators, along with amenities befitting the stature of the new august assembly such as a decorated chapel and banquet hall. A new Rostra (speaking platform, from which Senators traditionally gave public orations) also had to be built in front of this new Curia Aloysia, since the Augustan-era one now no longer faced the Senate’s meeting house with this move. Aloysius considered these huge expenses for a place where the Senate wasn’t even going to convene for half the year, and did not spare additional funds on any expansion or refurbishment of the Senate meeting house in Constantinople (which in any case had been built to hold twice as many Senators anyway).

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The 'Curia Aloysia', as the Holy Roman Senate's summer meeting place on the Capitoline Hill was dubbed, was comprised of the long-unused Temples of Vespasian and Concord as well as the old Roman record office or Tabularium located right behind them

Up north, after years of slowly grinding advances, the Dano-Roman allied army achieved an important breakthrough against the Garmrsons and their loyalists at the Battle of Þrónd[1]. Jarl Sveinn of Hlaðir had been one of the most stalwart supporters of King Hákon, and his fjord-centered domain – a significant Norwegian hub for agriculture, fishing and shipbuilding all – had constituted a major base for the Garmrsons. To finally eliminate this longstanding thorn in their side, Sigtrygg and Magnus had been waging an agonizingly slow campaign against the fierce resistance of this Jarl and his king, which finally bore fruit in this costly but decisive battle pitting some 5,000 allied troops against just under 3,000 Norwegians. As had become typical of fjord battles, this engagement was a mix of both naval and amphibious combat, and the allies prevailed on both fronts: in the battle of kings the Danish fleet defeated its Norwegian counterpart, not with Greek fire or any other special trick but simple numbers and face-to-face brute might, while the English spearheaded the allied landing to the south and spent six hours hacking their axes against Jarl Sveinn’s defense, which broke only after the Jarl himself fell in single combat with Magnus. The victorious allies proceeded to burn down Sveinn’s home at Lade Gaard and take his family hostage, having accomplished a major push against Hákon (who retreated back up north towards Hálogaland with fewer than a thousand warriors and half his longships).

On the northeastern front, the Pechenegs’ reversion to a strategy of hit-and-run attacks while avoiding pitched battles left their enemies deeply frustrated. Michael knew how to combat such plans from his past experience in the Levant, but did not have the resources to execute his counter-strategy nor was the Pontic Steppe a good place to try: the Saracens could be beaten by taking their cities and denying them resources or local places to hide, but the steppe was much vaster, less settled and more remote than the Levant, while the nearest Roman bases in the Chersonese and the South Caucasus couldn't quite compare to the cities of faithful Ionia and Constantinople itself. Even if the legions could project power all the way up to Atil, the Pecheneg homeland lay further beyond, and they couldn’t possibly build enough forts to lock down the vast expanse of wild fields between the Dnieper and the Volga faster than Pecheneg raiders could burn them down while said forts were under construction. The best the Romans coalition could do at this time was to deploy small parties of their own light horsemen to counter Pecheneg raids, and keep the area south of the Hypanis and west of the Little Tanais[1] as empty of Pechenegs as humanly possible. On the other hand, neither did the Pechenegs have the strength to push toward the Roman cities again after their disastrous engagement with the Grandmaster, leaving both sides at an impasse.

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A paladin of Michael's army struggling to close in on a Pecheneg raider as the latter flees while emptying his quiver in the former's direction

Speaking of the Levant, with his internal enemies finally fully pacified or eliminated for the time being, Saif al-Islam was able to turn his attention back to the suppression of the heretics in Arabia. He kept the pressure up on the Baqliyya, rooting them out from most of their remaining strongholds in Bahrayn and driving them into the mountains of Jebel Akhdar in the southeastern corner of the peninsula this year before the Yamani once more emerged from their mountains to trouble his western flank. Zayd’s Kharijites enjoyed significant success in rolling back recent Hashemite advances in the southwest and taking back portions of the Tihamat al-Yaman, threatening to cut off Yunus Beg’s army in Aden from the rest of the Caliphate. Immensely frustrated at this emergency forcing him to remove his attention elsewhere when he had the eastern heretics on the ropes, the Atabeg negotiated a truce (in good faith this time) with Abu Sa’id to leave his Kharijite sect in their mountains (where the highland agriculture was sufficiently robust to help them endure any siege anyway, meaning that eliminating the Baqliyya would have likely required a costly invasion) and left garrisons to watch them across the Hajar Mountains & in the port of Muscat before leaving to aid his kinsman.

The allies spent 967 consolidating their hold on central Norway rather than pushing forward into remote Hálogaland, confident that they had less to fear from the few remaining forces Hákon still had in the field than they did from any sympathizers of him who remained behind the new front lines. Sigtrygg and Eiríkr installed the latter’s Norwegian hirdman Eysteinn Sigurdson as the new Jarl of Hlaðir and arranged his marriage to his late predecessor Sveinn’s elder daughter, sending the rest of the old noble family of that region to Rome both to serve as living proof of their latest victorious advances & to keep them simultaneously comfortable and yet also far, far removed from any opportunity to retake their old home. Hákon, meanwhile, struggled to suppress defeatist dissenters within his ranks who now definitively viewed his cause as a doomed one and conspired to go over to the Dano-Roman coalition in order to save their own hides on one hand, and to rebuild his army once again with the other: he was still able to recruit Swedish volunteers, but in a trickle rather than a stream for they too were increasingly demoralized by his latest defeats, and his already thin manpower pool was further stretched by Sami raiders from the north who sought to exploit his obvious weakness.

967 was also a year of consolidation, and finalization, for Aloysius VI’s new Senate closer to home. Its powers and responsibilities were clarified: in addition to their well-established consultative duties Senators could propose and vote on empire-wide legislation (both those drafted at their own hands and coming from the Emperor through the quaestor sacrii palatii, who retained his responsibility as the chief legal official of the Holy Roman Empire), they were re-assigned the duty of trying cases involving crimes against the Empire (treason, corruption, embezzlement from the imperial treasury, etc.), but most importantly they served as links between the Emperor and their home regions. Due to the threat of the imperial veto hanging over their decisions, these Senators’ main responsibility was not going to so much be passing laws or trying cases of treason, but deliberating over internal imperial affairs and representing their homelands in high-level formal negotiations with one another or with the Augustus Imperator himself on the Senate floor. Copying the manner in which the long-gone Comitia Tributa and its Roman ‘tribes’ functioned, each kingdom’s representatives were expected to vote as a bloc, making decisions about how to vote on a piece of negotiation or a treaty arranged on the floor by holding another, simple majority vote within their ranks – and their decision, ultimately, counted as one vote regardless of how many Senators’ seats that kingdom got to fill.

Each Senator was also set to serve for life (unless they voluntarily retired, or were impeached and expelled for some grievous offense by the Emperor and/or a vote by their colleagues) in keeping with Roman tradition. And while the ancient Roman magistracies had long since withered to symbolic honors, their old powers and responsibilities absorbed into other offices over the long lifespan of the Empire before the first Arbogast was even born, as a show of imperial goodwill and respect for those traditions Aloysius also returned to the Senate the right to elect those magistrates, up to and including Consuls. All in all, this Senate was expected to be less of an all-encompassing governing assembly with a broad swath of legislative and judicial powers, not even in a nominal sense like under Augustus, but more of a deliberative forum where the Senators could air their home kingdoms’ grievances and try to negotiate a resolution with each other and/or the Emperor before their ruling relatives escalated said grievances to violence.

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A comparatively young tenth-century Italian Senator and his wife. Aside from serving as a useful forum for mediating inter-kingdom disputes before they got out of hand, the Senate was also a convenient place for large royal & noble families to drop off relatives who stood to inherit nothing and could have caused trouble at home, while still affording sufficient dignity and luxury that said relatives could not complain

On the steppes, Aloysius and his allies sat down for peace talks with Kuerçi Khagan, who in turn had seen reason and backed off his initial plan to completely crush the Khazars before trying to roll all the way up to the Tyras. A peace of mutual exhaustion was signed that set the Pechenegs’ new southern border along the Hypanis & the Terek, and their western one along the Dnieper (still recorded under the antiquated name of ‘Borysthenes’ in Greco-Roman accounts) as well as its tributary the Psel, where the Ruthenians had been able to hold the line this time. The Khazars were too badly weakened by this struggle to project power into the northwest Caucasus, so while Aloysius saw no value in annexing the lands beyond Tamatarcha’s walls, he did take the opportunity to reorganize the fractious indigenous tribes living north of the mountains into another Roman client state.

Thus was the Principality of ‘Kasogia’ born, marking one of the northeastern limits to Chivalric-era Christendom alongside the Ruthenians. At least that was the name it went by in the Roman world, for the Greeks & Romans called the natives the ‘Kasogi’ (‘Kasogs’), but it was more likely to be called simply Adygea by its inhabitants, who collectively called themselves the ‘Adyghe’. These natives were already familiar with Christianity, which had been introduced to the region centuries prior, and generally welcomed Roman support in defending their lands against the likes of the Khazars and Pechenegs, who had extensively preyed on the Kasogs in the past owing to their women’s reputation for great beauty and their men’s reputation for equally great strength[3]. Indeed, before he returned to the Middle East Michael himself recruited several Kasog volunteers into his order; the Christian armies may have been unable to overthrow the Pechenegs entirely, even under his iron wings, but at least they achieved some success in defending & even slightly expanding Christendom’s frontier, and now he had living proof of that.

All this said, while churches were built and old ones expanded under the Holy Roman Empire’s influence and Christian traders & missionaries would still travel beyond its boundaries, periodically finding strangers to the East interested in the Gospel, they would not establish any significant Christian state or succeed in effecting mass conversions past this last sedentary kingdom on the edge of the Roman world for many centuries to come; indeed, no sedentary kingdom like Kasogia or Ruthenia (regardless of religion) could be founded on these steppes without being raided to oblivion by nomads before long. The ultimate defeat of the Khazars once they had gotten too comfortable in their towns and the failure of the Ruthenians to establish lasting footholds to the east proved that, in the absence of major demographic and technological changes, the ‘wild fields’ were going to remain wild for centuries to come even if the Pechenegs should one day fall like their predecessors.

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A pair of 'Kasogs' or Adyghe in the North Caucasus following the formation of a Kasogian principality under Roman protection, breathing free air without having to worry about Khazar or Pecheneg slavers for the first time in probably all their lives

Elsewhere, the Spanish and Africans were finalizing preparations for their first joint western expedition. Initial plans to follow the northwesterly route charted by the Irish and Britons were quickly scrapped, as it became readily apparent that such a voyage would require stopping along the Viking-controlled great islands of the remote north – and being increasingly peopled by refugees fleeing the advances of Christian Romanitas down south, it was obvious that it was exceedingly unlikely those ‘Hyperborean’ Norsemen would be all that friendly toward Christian adventurers in the employ of the Holy Roman Empire’s vassals. Instead Rodrigo and Gostãdénu determined that their explorers should depart along a more southerly route from the port of Espal, gradually turning northwest in hopes of reaching the friendly Irish settlements in Aloysiana (assuming those have yet to be wiped out by the Norse heathens or British heretics who fled in their direction) from the south. The Lusitanians’ prior discovery of the Islas Atlantes gave them hope that additional islands, perhaps remnants of the legendary Atlantis, could be found in the middle of the sea between Europe and Aloysiana to serve as rest stops for their men.

968 was generally a quiet year for Aloysius VI and indeed most of the Roman world, as the majority of the soldiers sent east to fight the Pechenegs now returned home or to their stations in the Levant. The most important development at home was the formal introduction of legislation to reunify the Senates; fix the number of members within its benches; and apportion those seats to suitably accommodate the ancient Senatorial families still surviving from both halves of the Roman world, the bishops of the Church and the federate kingdoms (now coming in as officially organized blocs rather than scattered individual representatives who were primarily observers). While much had already been decided before the voting began, Aloysius understood the importance of keeping up appearances & not overtly infringing on those traditions he was hoping to repurpose to better serve the present-day state of the Empire, and so allowed the Senators to take their time deliberating & voting on the measures he brought before them. Though for the purpose of expediency, and to also induce interactivity & (hopefully) co-operation between the Greek and Italian Senators ahead of their unification, he did also direct both Senates to consider his legislation at the same time rather than one after the other (which may have created an offensive impression of him giving either the West or East precedence over the other anyway if, for example, he allowed Rome to do so first ahead of Constantinople).

On the other end of the continent, Gostãdénu & Rodrigo sent forth their first exploring party: two ships, one African and one Spanish, with around eighty crewmen each. Their captains, respectively Ãdala ey Téngé[4] and Hermanarico Ardónez, were both noblemen known to have significant experience at sea, and were given joint command over the expedition. The explorers were off to a good start and were known to have made it to the Islas Atlantes at the very least, where some of the sailors reportedly got into a large drunken brawl with the Lusitanian locals, but the expedition floundered when they sailed further west: ultimately, between unexpectedly stormy waters and Hermanarico dying from scurvy, followed by Ãdala trying to seize complete control over the expedition and facing violent resistance from his fallen counterpart’s followers, this mission ended in failure and the loss of all hands somewhere far off in the western seas. The only survivors were those men who were arrested for their rowdiness back on the Islas Atlantes, as well as a smaller number of crewmen who fled back east once the Spaniards' bloody mutiny got underway. The sponsoring kings were undeterred by this debacle however, and once they became certain that no news would come from the far west, immediately went to planning a second (hopefully more successful) expedition in two years’ time.

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The few Spanish sailors who wanted no part in their compatriots' mutiny against Ãdala abandoning ship. As it turned out, these men were also the smartest and thus the only survivors among those of the first expedition to sail west of the Islas Atlantes

This was not, however, a quiet year in Arabia, where Saif al-Islam was once more ramping up his efforts against the Kharijites of Yaman. Zayd al-Sadiq had pressed his momentary advantage as hard as he could, inflicting several defeats on Yunus Beg along the Tihamat al-Yaman and eventually forcing him away from the coast altogether, trapping him in the mountain town of Ibb. Unfortunately for Yunus, the countryside around Ibb – one of the last towns taken by the Hashemite counter-offensive before Saif al-Islam was distracted by the Baqliyya and Caliph Hasan’s intrigues for the last time – was swarming with Kharijites and they also still had no small number of sympathizers on the inside, which inevitably spelled disaster for the occupiers. Despite their best efforts to control the dire situation and hold out until their Atabeg returned to relieve them, Yunus & his men were ultimately defeated when Kharijite agents within the walls sabotaged the town gates and signaled as much to Zayd’s army, who promptly attacked and overran the Hashemite forces in a furious night battle shortly after Saif al-Islam re-entered the greater region of Yaman.

The Atabeg & power behind the Hashemite throne was incensed by the return of his cousin’s corpse to him in pieces, and swore undying vengeance against Zayd & all who foolishly insisted on following his heretical ways. Zayd’s next intended move was to finish off the small Hashemite garrison left by Yunus at Aden, but hwas prevented from doing so by the main Hashemite army proceeding to tear a bloody swathe back down the Tihamat al-Yaman and recapturing the ground lost by Yunus much more quickly than he had anticipated. An attempt to lure Saif al-Islam into an ambush went awry when the latter turned the tables and, after seemingly falling for the feint deployed by Zayd, launched his own surprise attack against the would-be ambushers – he had even dressed one of his officers in his own armor and put the man at the head of his own diversionary detachment, which was key to fooling the Kharijites but also almost got him killed since he led the ambush force into battle in the other man’s less distinctive armor. So many Kharijites fell in the gorge where their armies clashed, pursued without mercy by the furious Turks, that it was henceforth renamed Shueib ud-Dam or the ‘Bloody Gulley’.

Zayd survived the Battle of Shueib ud-Dam and retreated to his mountain strongholds in the Yamani hinterland, confident that he still had sufficient forces & resources to resist for years to come and that the rough terrain afforded him endless opportunities to whittle down the Hashemite armies even if he could no longer engage them in head-on pitched battles any longer. The rebels employed a scorched-earth strategy, burning all the food and killing animals which they could not carry with them in their retreat to their aforementioned mountain bases (from where they periodically emerged to raid the Hashemites’ camps and supply lines) to deny these supplies to the Hashemites. Saif al-Islam retaliated with slow but forceful and well-measured advances, similarly targeting farmlands and wells in order to starve the Yamani Kharijites: any indication of the slightest disloyalty to the Hashemite regime was grounds for the seizure of a farmer’s crops, his summary execution and the enslavement of his family, and nobody would be permitted to draw water without first performing some service to prove their loyalty to the youthful Caliph Al-Amin either. A brutal and costly campaign of attrition was now set to drag on for years to come, levying the heaviest toll not on either army but on the unfortunate citizens of Yaman caught between them.

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Saif al-Islam leading the surprise attack against his would-be ambushers and pushing them into the 'Gulley of Blood', where many a Kharijite would fall before the vengeful Atabeg and his army

969 was another rather quiet year in the Roman world, as the two Senates continued to ponderously debate and periodically make minor amendments to the legislation presented before them by the Emperor in parallel. If Aloysius was irritated at the pace at which they were handling what he believed to be his primary reason for getting in the history books, he did not show it: this Augustus Imperator was a patient man and determined to respect the traditional legal processes of Roman government as much as possible, at least for the sake of appearances. In any case, he was right to decide that exhibiting such restraint would cost him nothing but time, and found a pleasant surprise in that for once the various Senators did not take the opportunity to scheme against him even when he vetoed their proposals. The sixth Aloysius dryly observed that it was a great shame neither Senate was this well-behaved centuries ago when the Stilichians or his own dynasty’s progenitor were wearing the purple, back when it actually could’ve made a difference in the course of Roman history.

In Arabia, Saif al-Islam exhibited more of the cunning that elevated him above a mere warlord in the second part of his response to Zayd’s guerrilla stratagem: he had surplus crops from Mesopotamia (where the farms were still quite productive, certainly more-so than Yemen's, though naturally not as much as they had been before the Zanj Rebellion and various other disasters of the Islamic Crisis of the Third Century) shipped down to Yemen for the benefit of the people left at risk of starvation by Zayd’s requisitioning of their food supplies and destruction of all that he couldn’t take with him. This proved an effective carrot when coupled with the stick represented by his still-harsh regulations and control over an increasing amount of Yemen’s remaining farmland & sources of water, compelling more and more Yamanis to forsake the teachings of Zayd and return to ‘Ilm Islam & its Hashemite Caliph if only so they could ensure they and their families wouldn’t starve. More importantly, it also made the locals more willing to sell out the Kharijite insurgents hiding around their homes, even under the threat of a brutal death for being apostates & collaborators.

With growing popular support in the region, the Atabeg was able to put a crack in the stalemate and make some substantial advances against his southernmost enemy this year. Hashemite forces pushed a ways into the inner mountains with aid from local collaborators converted back to their cause, slowly but steadily taking the cities of ‘Ibb and Jibla over the course of months-long sieges, and Saif al-Islam had a large fort built near the great Al-Ja’nad Mosque to secure the ground taken in this push[5]. Zayd himself continued to hold out at Sana’a however, and even with the Hashemite noose tightening around his neck, he demonstrated that he still had some tricks up his sleeve with a daring raid out of northern Yemen and into central Arabia. Hashemite control had been re-established in the Yamama region of the Nejd following the destruction of Diriyah, but it was still shaky at this time and the Yemeni Kharijites took full advantage of that weakness to recruit their surviving brothers in the faith (chiefly from tribes in the southern Nejd, such as the Banu Uqayl) & sacking many towns from al-‘Aqiq[6] to al-Quway[7] – which, considering the amount of time & resources Saif al-Islam had spent to take control of said settlements in the first place, amounted to spitting in the Atabeg’s eye again so soon after he killed the man’s cousin.

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Saif al-Islam had sufficient self-discipline to not allow his thirst for vengeance and frustration with the lengthy war in Yemen to cloud his political instincts, and his displays of charity toward the Yamani populace enabled him to make a lot more progress in this conflict more quickly than Zayd al-Sadiq had anticipated or hoped for

Over in India, Hindu forces began to expand in an unexpected direction. Though all eyes had long been fixated on the Later Salankayanas in the north and center of the subcontinent & their struggles with the Muslims, it was in this year that the crown of the millennial Pandya dynasty graced the head of the ambitious and dynamic prince Aparajitavarman, who aspired to weld Tamilakam into a far-Southern Indian empire of his own that could rival the power & majesty of the Salankayanas. The Tamil kingdoms had been compelled to pay tribute to the Salankayanas long ago, and for now Aparajitavarman did not cease that practice for fear that the Pandyas were not yet ready to challenge the Andhrans’ hegemony, but he still took opportunities to expand his influence wherever he could find them. In revenge for an Anuradhapuran raid which devastated large parts of Tamilakam and the Pandyas’ own capital of Madurai during his father’s reign, he intensified cross-strait raids across Rama’s Bridge and the surrounding waters against that rival island kingdom in preparation for a more extensive campaign of conquest – something which his Salankayana overlords did not complain about, as they also considered Anuradhapura an enemy – and also established an alliance with the neighboring Cholas on his western flank by marrying their eldest princess Vanavanmahadevi, in the process hopefully ending a centuries-long rivalry with that other Tamil kingdom.

970 brought with it the passage of Aloysius VI’s reform bill in both the Eastern and Western Senates at long last. Debates in both chambers had been allowed to run their course, which was why this process took two years and not two months since the Emperor finished laying all the groundwork and actually presented said bill to the Senators; still, Aloysius was careful to ensure that he had all the necessary votes well in hand before the fateful day, and also to ensure that not a soul would derail his great project at the last minute with a poorly-timed filibuster or other underhanded tricks after having made him wait so long already. Fortunately for the newly reunited Senate, the Emperor had not waited until his bill passed to start his pre-planned renovation and expansion of the Tabularium, so the newly chosen Senators from both halves of the Empire proper and the assorted federate kingdoms could be seated almost immediately. With this legislative triumph, the Aloysians cemented the third pillar of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries to come: alongside their own rule as Emperors and the Christian Church, the Senate now stood as one body to represent both a unified Roman & Christian sphere and yet also serve as a forum for its constituent parts, at once decisively moving past its sordid reputation in the centuries immediately preceding the Chivalric Age and finalizing the centuries-long process of integrating the federate kingdoms into the Roman world order.

Speaking of those constituent parts, the first Senators from Italy to be seated upon the inauguration of this new Senate made it clear what the former Roman heartland’s role in this new scheme was going to be. In practice, the Italian Senators in particular came to represent not merely their families (which, while ancient and dignified, had seen their material power wither away for centuries) or their cities (as the ancient metropolises were increasingly being left behind in terms of wealth and even splendor by more dynamic cities, such as Venice) but the younger and less ossified powers on the peninsula: the city-states dominated by mercantile oligarchs on one hand, and the feudal Italo-Goth lords up north on the other. Senatorial clans like the Anicii had the prestige that could only come from filling the Senate’s benches for centuries, but comparatively little in the way of money and hard power; thus it was only natural that they should begin trading what they had for what they didn’t have by arranging marriage alliances with the patricians of ascendant cities like Venice and Pisa, families like the Participazio or Orlandi whose homes were not sacked by the hordes of Attila and who had quietly built up their strength in obscurity, or with the warlike houses of royal Amaling blood such as the Della Bella and Della Grazia. Thus in practice, Italian interests were henceforth generally dictated and represented in the Senate by these cities & lords through their allies in the old Senatorial aristocracy.

And further on the note of Venice, that most serene city once more demonstrated the resourcefulness that allowed it to challenge more established powers even from a disadvantageous position in this year. Aloysius IV was not nearly as fondly remembered in that city as he was in most of the Holy Roman Empire, for his reign had been a disaster for them and a boon to their enemies: defeat in the Seven Years’ War, the dismantlement of their first nascent maritime league and his attacks on Roman slavery had each been a grave blow to Venetian interests and collectively set the patricians’ ambitions back by centuries. Still, the patricians of Venice were not the sort to give up even after such a thrashing and sought a new source of income which would allow them to begin rebuilding their power, even start realizing their lofty ambitions of an Adriatic maritime empire in good time: but unlike the Spanish and Africans, their eyes were turned to the east. Thus in 970, after years of planning and with discreet support from Aloysius VI who saw another opportunity for enrichment, a party of enterprising Venetian mercers & Ionian monks carefully smuggled a handful of silkworm eggs (worth many times their weight in gold) all the way from China; through Turkic Central Asia and the Indo-Roman kingdom; and arguably most dangerously, through the still blood-soaked Pecheneg and Khazar territories, before they reached friendly Kasogia and discreetly sailed to Italy from the minor fishing town of Kaphâs[9]. The Greeks had their tea, but now Venice was able to open the continent’s first domestic silk factory – the beginning of a new, highly profitable industry that they hoped would compensate for their loss of revenues from the slave trade and the transformation of their former Dalmatian subjects into rivals.

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The smuggled silkworm eggs are presented to Aloysius VI during an imperial visit to Venice

While the Senators were settling into their new seats and the Venetians were hatching the first Europe-native silkworms, the Spaniards and Moors were making their second attempt at sailing west across the Atlantic. Led by Hidacio Teodomirez and Danél ey Zélé[10], this time they took a southerly route out of Espal and were guided by the winds & stars first toward a set of uninhabited isles further to the south which were identified as the ‘Gorgades’[11] once known to Pliny, then westward. Unfortunately that was their only significant discovery, as this expedition also failed due to improper provisioning and consequently running out of rations when their push to the west lasted for over a month. Rodrigo and Gostãdénu considered the Gorgades an interesting find, with the latter rushing to establish the first tropical Roman outpost on those remote isles, but it was very far from what they were actually looking for and they agreed to back another, hopefully finally successful expedition in the near future. Both kings prayed fervently that the third time would finally be the charm.

In the Middle East, Zayd al-Sadiq’s northern raids reached their climax with a crescent-shaped movement west through the Nejd that brought the raiders within sight of the Holy Cities (although plans to attack Mecca and Medina had to be abandoned after they saw that Saif al-Islam had left them strongly defended, so as to never suffer the indignity of another Kharijite sack again any time soon) before they finally returned to Yemen through Najran, which they also sacked (although elements of the Hashemite garrison and the civilian populace survived by hiding in its citadel while the rest of their city was burnt down). Not only did Saif al-Islam have to deal with that, but he also had to deal with Michael launching raids against the frontier territories of the Caliphate from his bases in Oultrejourdain and Assyria: the Grandmaster foresaw further conflict between Christendom and Islam, and sought to keep the latter as weak and off-balance as possible. Michael demanded an extortionate ransom before he would relent, and was surprised when the Atabeg actually managed to pay it (by taking from Ja’far’s ill-gotten gains). While the temptation to demand more or to try to cheat the Muslims must have been great, the princely Grandmaster was honor-bound to

On the Indian subcontinent, Aparajitavarman Pandya found his plans for an invasion of Anuradhapura derailed by a coup d’etat in the Chola kingdom, in which many of his new in-laws were decimated by their cousin Rajasekhara. At the urging of his wife and to eliminate this knife pointed at his back before it grew any bolder & sharper (for the ruthless usurper had wasted no time in raiding his western neighbor), Aparajitavarman agreed to march against the Cholas and restore her sole surviving brother Rajaditya – the only other member of the former Chola main line to have stayed in Madurai with her, and so avoided being purged by Rajasekhara – to what was now his rightful throne. The Pandyas were assisted by thousands of Chola legitimists who were unwilling to bow before their new kinslaying tyrant, and consequently Aparajitavarman defeated Rajasekhara in two major battles: first at Dindigul, whereupon he annexed that long-contested border fortress into Pandyamandalam as payment for his aid, and then again on the lower banks of the Ponni[8], closer to the Chola capital at Thanjavur. Towards the year’s end Rajasekhara committed suicide rather than face the indignity of defeat, and most likely execution by being trampled underneath Aparajitavarman's elephants soon afterward, but Aparajitavarman could not rest on his laurels for long: the Anuradhapurans had not misunderstood the intention behind his raids on their island and mounted a pre-emptive attack against his kingdom while he was still distracted with the Chola civil war, going so far as to place Madurai under siege again.

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Rajasekhara frantically directing his spearmen against a stampede of Pandya cavalry and war elephants at the fatal Battle of the Ponni

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[1] The Trondheim Fjord. This battle would specifically have been fought in the vicinity of Flakk, a port & suburb of modern Trondheim.

[2] The Greco-Roman name for the Donets River (Seversky Donets), with the Don being the ‘Greater’ Tanais to them.

[3] The ‘Circassian beauty’ (not to be confused with P. T. Barnum’s afro’d circus sideshows) was a very popular trope & beauty ideal for centuries. As for the males, Circassian warrior-slaves famously founded the Burji dynasty historically, the longer-lasting of the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate’s dynasties.

[4] Tingi – Tangiers.

[5] In the vicinity of modern Ta’izz.

[6] Wadi ad-Dawasir.

[7] Al-Quway’iyah.

[8] The Kaveri River.

[9] Kaffa – Feodosia.

[10] Silis/Zilis – Asilah.

[11] Cape Verde.
 
With the power to legislate, even nominal, and the power over its own membership, it's just an assertion of exclusive power over taxation for the Senate to become the post Civil War British Parliament. And a few more centuries of constitutional development for the Emperor's prerogatives to become as unusable as that of the British Monarch.

I imagine taxation over Federates will eventually be the breakpoint for that, under a taxation with representation theory. Of course, Federates are currently taxed in soldiers, not money, but as the costs of infrastructure and bureaucracy grows (gunpowder and artillery would be a big driver), and those Federates far from any danger get fatter and lazier, we'd probably see the same thing as real life where lords start voluntarily paying scutage instead of fulfilling their military obligations.
 
Thanks for chapter !
1.Muslims still have problems - good for HRE

2.Indians in future would have biggest war,but for now it matter not.But...stronger Tamil Kingdom could backstan indians when they would fight muslims in future.

3.Norwegian pagans are doomed,but they still had time and resources to run.Even if only 500 warriors get to America,it would be enough to beat irish,pelagians or indians there and carve their own kingdom.

4.Spanish/Maur expeditions - they would eventually find Carribeans,and later Mayans and Tolteks.Considering that major Mayan cities just fall,and Tolteks was cunts,then they could create empire there,like Spain in OTL much later.
South America - not possible,there were civilizations there,but not united.

5.Pecheng finally made peace - till next war.And yes,taking steppes with medieval technology is impossible.

6.Circassian state - good,those people deserved some peace.And,HRE in future could hire guards there,even now circassians are known as good and loyal soldiers in all states where they live as exiles.
 
@Circle of Willis ,you made very good work in bringing here Hamlet,Arthur,Aladin,Beowulf,Mackbeth and other heroes.
What about add another,knight of the Swann?

Lohegrin could help here emperor keep some german kingdom out of civil war.
Here:

How explain,why he vanish? well,Emperor could want him gone for some reasons,or his british family need him in other place.
 
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I read book about Sudan and Chad,and,apparently -
1.There were black cannibals there to 19th century,some claim that even now they are still doing that.
2.Arabs hate black people,including black muslim - in Sudan they persecuted black no matter if they were christians or not,and let some white copts there live in peace,althought they were christians.
3.CHad is famous for well-made rugs - Sao people here could made them,too,and sell to christians.Or pottery.Or glass.Or bronze artifacts.So,becouse they were skilled artisian,they could made sometching to sell.
 
The problem with luxury handicrafts is that if they become fashionable enough to support major traffic, someone is going to undercut shipping costs with local production. That's what happened with, for instance, porcelain. No amount of skill can overcome the surcharge of premodern long distance trade. There needs to be some sort of secret for production, like silk, but even that monopoly both in history and in this timeline eventually ended.

Though speaking of trade goods, in what might have put me on a list, I recently google walked my way through the production of Molotov cocktails and napalm. Early napalm was made by mixing the fuel with natural rubber latex. The main sources of latex being cut off during WWII is what led to the development of modern napalm formulations. One theory about Greek Fire is that it used some sort of tree resin to make naptha thick and sticky, and it dissolves poorly, requiring a furnace to heat the fluid before deployment, which obviously is physically large, mechanically complex, and dangerous. If true, with access to rubber latex, which dissolves easily in petroleum, Greek Fire would become far easier to use. Easy enough for general use on land, not just sea battles and sieges? Imagine teams using sling staves to hurl the equivalent of modern napalm molotovs at dense formations. Even shitty alcohol molotovs are deadly enough against modern riot police. Or ballistae, like those meme videos about Ukrainian molotov catapults.

I bring this up because the Congo rubber plant native to tropical Africa, is what Leopold II tortured millions to death for. Admittedly, the more productive regular rubber tree is in Brazil which an expedition might find any time now. Still Romans wanting as much napalm as possible must import it from tropical regions with enough population and organization to run plantations, which is unlikely to be true of Brazil for a long time yet.

Hmm. . . both the Americas expedition and trade to tropical Africa runs through the Stilichians . . . mass produced napalm as the secret weapon in the next civil war?
 
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The problem with luxury handicrafts is that if they become fashionable enough to support major traffic, someone is going to undercut shipping costs with local production. That's what happened with, for instance, porcelain. No amount of skill can overcome the surcharge of premodern long distance trade. There needs to be some sort of secret for production, like silk, but even that monopoly both in history and in this timeline eventually ended.

Though speaking of trade goods, in what might have put me on a list, I recently google walked my way through the production of Molotov cocktails and napalm. Early napalm was made by mixing the fuel with natural rubber latex. The main sources of latex being cut off during WWII is what led to the development of modern napalm formulations. One theory about Greek Fire is that it used some sort of tree resin to make naptha thick and sticky, and it dissolves poorly, requiring a furnace to heat the fluid before deployment, which obviously is physically large, mechanically complex, and dangerous. If true, with access to rubber latex, which dissolves easily in petroleum, Greek Fire would become far easier to use. Easy enough for general use on land, not just sea battles and sieges? Imagine teams using sling staves to hurl the equivalent of modern napalm molotovs at dense formations. Even shitty alcohol molotovs are deadly enough against modern riot police. Or ballistae, like those meme videos about Ukrainian molotov catapults.

I bring this up because the Congo rubber plant native to tropical Africa, is what Leopold II tortured millions to death for. Admittedly, the more productive regular rubber tree is in Brazil which an expedition might find any time now. Still Romans wanting as much napalm as possible must import it from tropical regions with enough population and organization to run plantations, which is unlikely to be true of Brazil for a long time yet.

Hmm. . . both the Americas expedition and trade to tropical Africa runs through the Stilichians . . . mass produced napalm as the secret weapon in the next civil war?

You are,sadly,right about luxury goods.But rubber from Congo for better greek fire - i could buy it.But,it do not help Sao...

I think,that what they need are cisterian monks who would teach them new technologies to get richer and defend themselves,and militant monks to help them fight till that happen.
 
You are,sadly,right about luxury goods.But rubber from Congo for better greek fire - i could buy it.But,it do not help Sao...

I think,that what they need are cisterian monks who would teach them new technologies to get richer and defend themselves,and militant monks to help them fight till that happen.
Oh it grows around Lake Chad. And also in West Africa and even southern Nubia, all the trans-Saharan trade termini are within Congo rubber's native range. Too bad so much of rubber's use is locked behind vulcanization.

Rubber really is a huge missed opportunity for tropical Africa historically, undercut by SEAsian plantations while the Empires that ruled tropical Africa avoided investment infavor of strip mining the population, and then WWII and synthetic rubber killed the market.
 
Oh it grows around Lake Chad. And also in West Africa and even southern Nubia, all the trans-Saharan trade termini are within Congo rubber's native range. Too bad so much of rubber's use is locked behind vulcanization.

Rubber really is a huge missed opportunity for tropical Africa historically, undercut by SEAsian plantations while the Empires that ruled tropical Africa avoided investment infavor of strip mining the population, and then WWII and synthetic rubber killed the market.
Thanks ! so,Sao people had something which HRE need.Good for both sides.
 
971-975: Go West, Young Men New
The war of the Radbodsons and Garmrsons over Norway took further decisive steps toward its conclusion in 971. Sigtrygg and Magnus suffered a setback early in the year when their vanguard was ambushed by the Norwegians faithful to Hákon at the Battle of Torgar[1], which resulted in the deaths of approximately a thousand of the allied soldiers and derailed their initial push into Hálogaland. Hákon was eager to capitalize on this victory and committed to a major counterattack in the hopes of driving the allies out of central Norway, but the scale of his trump had made him over-confident in his abilities & those of his troops, which Earl Magnus was keen on exploiting. The ambitious Norwegian plan called for both a landward thrust south from Hálogaland and an amphibious incursion into the great fjord of Þrónd behind the allied positions, to be assisted by surviving loyalists of the fallen Jarl Sveinn of Hlaðir who had signaled their willingness to emerge from their hiding places in support of the Norwegian loyalists so that they might avenge their master; little did Hákon know that the Anglo-Danes had been most thorough in their purge of the followers of Jarl Sveinn, and were forcing those few they had taken captive to send Hákon these lies under threat of grave harm to their families, now also hostages in the Danish court.

Thus did Hákon divide his already meager force in twain and send these halves into carefully prepared traps of Magnus' own. He personally led the summertime ground offensive against Sigtrygg and was able to fight his way out of the Danish trap in the closing stages of the Battle of Vémundarvik[2], despite the efforts of the Danish king's sons to cut off his retreat and annihilate his entire force in that one engagement. Alas the same could not be said of the amphibious invasion force led by his last remaining brother Ketill & their nephew Eyjólf Þorkellson, which was trapped inside the Þrónd by the Anglo-Roman fleet and massacred on the beaches of Hlaðir by Magnus' army shortly after realizing that the promised local support was not going to materialize. The losses incurred by the Norwegians in this failed summer counterattack broke the back of their already badly bloodied forces; never again would Hákon be able to regain the initiative, while the allies now resumed their advance into Hálogaland by sea and this time definitively secured beach-heads & bases at not just Torgar, but also Tjøtta and Rauðøy[3].

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Magnus Haroldson, Earl of Lindsey closes the Anglo-Danish trap and leads his army against the Norwegians who had landed near Hlaðir

In Arabia, with Michael temporarily mollified by the previous year's tribute payment, Saif al-Islam concentrated all his energies on stomping out the Yamani Kharijite rebellion before the followers of Zayd al-Sadiq could distract him from the pressing need to rebuild Islam's strength & prepare for the next great contention with the Christians any longer. Though the rugged mountains which comprised much of Yaman's hinterland ensured that it would still be difficult for the Hashemite forces to make much headway quickly, the Atabeg was able to continuously advance slowly and steadily with a combination of shoring up popular support through the distribution of aid & bribes, and the construction of additional small forts to lock down every mountain pass and wadi (river valley) during the dry season. The Kharijites, for their part, continued to rely on a strategy of infiltration and ambushes: the only pitched engagement fought between the two sides this year was the 'Battle of the Red Dunes', in the Yamanis' corner of the great sandy expanse known as the Rub' al-Khali or 'Empty Quarter', when warriors of the pro-Hashemite Banu Hamdan tribe helped a Turkic cavalry troop spring a bloody surprise attack against a large column of Kharijite raiders attempting to repeat Zayd's previous successful northern raid.

While the conflicts in Scandinavia and Arabia were winding down, the one in southern India was just beginning to warm up. Aparajitavarman Pandya returned to find his kingdom ablaze, and hastened to deal with the Anuradhapuran army responsible before they could sack his capital of Madurai. The Anuradhapurans, led by their king's uncle Prince Dappula, stormed the walls of that city in an attempt to breach and conquer it before the Pandya returned in force, but were repulsed by the valiant Tamil defense and retreated to avoid being caught between said returning enemy host and the garrison should the latter sally forth. King Aparajitavarman did not give his foes a chance to catch their breath, instead pressing the Anuradhapurans down the River Vaigai until he was able to force a battle with Dappula at Ramanathapuram near its mouth. The Pandyas achieved a resounding victory there, slaying two-thirds of the 6,000-strong Anuradhapuran host before they could get out to sea or flee far enough back down Rama's Bridge that the Tamils could not pursue, but to Aparajitavarman this was only the beginning – certainly far from the end – for his plans.

The victorious Raja sailed to the nearby holy isle of Rameshwaram, where he proclaimed to his officers that their triumph at such an auspicious site in the Hindu religion could only be a sign from above that they must carry the campaign onward to the land of Lanka. As the god Rama once crossed the sea to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of the demon Ravana, so too they should now cross the bridge which he raised up to permanently secure their homes & families by removing the threat of Anuradhapura once and for all (no attention need be paid to the fact that even if Anuradhapura hadn't struck first, Aparajitavarman planned on invading them himself anyway). Pandya princes had invaded and occupied large parts of Lanka in the past, but never managed to establish a lasting presence – something he hoped to change this time around. His brother-in-law Rajaditya Chola, now installed in Thanjavur and recognizing Pandya suzerainty, agreed to lend the Pandyas naval support from the ports of Cholamandalam; in turn, Aparajitavarman gave him high praise, and he was likened to the monkey-king Sugriva & other allies of Rama from the Ramayana by the Pandya court. The Pandyas and Cholas accordingly began marshaling a formidable invasion army & fleet while Dappula's nephew, King Udaya II, made his own preparations to resist the mainlanders.

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The army of Aparajitavarman Pandya prepares to depart for Anuradhapura. Tamil warriors such as these generally did not bother with armor on account of the climate of far-southern India and Lanka, though their weapons were no less sharp and their war elephants even more numerous than those of the subcontinent's northern half

The Anglo-Danish forces and their growing number of Norwegian supporters continued to push into Garmrson territory through 972. As was the case in the rest of Norway, most Norse settlements in Hálogaland were concentrated along the seashore, built around or near the many fjords for easy sea access – the untamed and difficult hinterland terrain, which grew only rougher still the further north one went, had long made sailing the preferred mode of movement in this kingdom, to an even greater extent than in the other Scandinavian kingdoms. Alas, the Danes knew this well, and King Sigtrygg also understood that if he took the coastal towns he would also be taking control of the vast majority of Norway's population and resources. And with the Norwegian army and fleet both having sustained crippling losses over the past years, these keys to the Danish takeover of Norway were now wide open.

Thus, Sigtrygg and Harold spent this year sailing from fjord to fjord, demanding submission from the Norwegian townsfolk and doing battle with the dwindling warriors of the Garmrsons that still dared contest their advance. Resistance was sporadic at this point: many Hálogalanders would have preferred the continuation of Garmrson rule, for the Norwegian kings had never forgotten their homeland even after moving south to richer & warmer pastures, but they demonstrably did not have the strength to fight off the army which the King & Earl brought along and their affection for Hákon generally did not extend to being willing to commit suicide for him. That the Danes (well, Sigtrygg and Eiríkr at least) were not Christians and certainly not inclined to aggressively spread the new creed from the Holy Roman Empire also mollified the die-hard traditionalists who otherwise might have been persuaded to fight to the death for their old gods & old kings. Hákon himself had withdrawn to Lyngenfjorden, the absolute northernmost Norse settlement in all of Scandinavia, where he remained beyond the allies' reach for the time being; but this safety came at the cost of slowly, yet surely, ceding the remainder of his realm to the ascendant allies.

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Earl Magnus receiving the surrender of a Hálogalander thane as the allied armies moved closer & closer to the Garmrsons' final strongholds in far-northern Norway

Back in the Holy Roman Empire itself, Aloysius VI was busy putting the Senate to work. He had reshaped that august body chiefly to serve as a forum for his numerous vassals, so that they might dispute with one another using words & quill-pens rather than arms; and dispute, quite extensively, they did. Hardly any time had passed since the Curia Aloysia had first been opened before the Senate floor came to host vigorous debates, and outright shouting matches, between Senators from various rival kingdoms – among the first great disputes which threatened to boil over into bloodshed (again) were the longtime feud between the British and the assorted Irish kingdoms, reawakened by the recent deaths of the Ríodam Íméri III and his Irish counterpart Muichertach Ó Néill within months of one another, and a three-way border conflict between the Dulebes, Serbs and Dacians in the Banat, as the last of these struggled to retain the slivers of territory they still held in that disputed region's easternmost parts.

To prove their clean break with the sordid past, the Senators (under Aloysius' eye) strove successfully to cool these embers before they could once more explode into roaring wildfires. The nominal status quo in Britannia was carefully preserved, as the British Senators and Íméri's successor Elan II were both swayed into accepting the election of British-friendly prince Brandub mac Echach of the Uí Cheinnselaig as the next Ard Rí in exchange for Irish acknowledgment of additional territorial concessions (ranging from the Fir Rois territories in the north down to the town of Nás na Ríogh[4] in the south, which Irish raiders had repeatedly tried to reconquer and then to burn down without success) to the Hiberno-Briton & Anglo-Irish lords beyond the Pale, all for lands that said lords had already acquired through conquest or intermarriage in the preceding decades.

Around the same time the Senate was unable to completely prevent bloodshed in the Peninsula of Haemus, as it had no army with which to keep the feuding sides apart or directly impose a settlement, but it was able to limit the amount of blood spilled and negotiate a peace deal between the warring kings before the year's end; the Dulebes and Serbs both inched forward at first, the former pushing as far as the gates of old Tibiscum and the latter reaching up to Oravica[5], but the Dacians counterattacked from the fortified riverine port of Orșova (their main remaining stronghold in the Banat), whereupon Voievod Tiberiu repelled the Dulebian push at the Battle of the Timiș and the Serbian offensive on the banks of the Miniș. As the Dacians were unable to make headway against either of the South Slavic kingdoms when Tiberiu attempted to carry the war onto their soil, the Voievod settled for meager war indemnities (though the Senators insisted these were proportionate to the damage inflicted upon the Dacian countryside, as neither the Serbs or Dulebes had managed to stick around for long before being driven back) from both Dulebia and Serbia.

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The Dacian Senators presenting gifts, and arguments in favor of preserving their homeland's territorial integrity, to Aloysius VI

Now the Emperor was pleased that his Senate was functioning as intended and actually proving helpful in shoring up the imperial peace within Christendom (albeit not perfectly, but then it was still very early in this newly unified Senate's time), but his focus on internal affairs meant he was increasingly taking his eyes off foreign ones. His uncle Michael had long been a consistent advocate of additional, preventative wars against Islam, even to this time arguing that they should absolutely kick the Banu Hashim while they were down and that under no circumstance should the latter be allowed any breathing room to rebuild their strength. However in spite of his crusader blood, the sixth Aloysius was not as warlike as his father & some of his more martial ancestors, or even as ambitious as his grandfather when it came to seeking conquests abroad, and declined to attack the Muslims so long as they still upheld the terms of the Peace of Nineveh; he found peace & quiet to be more profitable than a campaign to take the rest of Mesopotamia, and besides the Muslims had just paid them a handsome sum at Michael's own demand a few years ago.

Still Michael might have succeeded in changing the Emperor's mind if not for the untimely death of his ally, Aloysius Caesar (who had been eager for an opportunity to recapture some of the glory of his grandfather's generation), from wounds incurred on a hunting trip this autumn – upon encountering a number of bear cubs while on the hunt, the prince overconfidently engaged their enraged mother on sight with his party (three of whom ended up dying that same day) and, though ultimately victorious, was left with only four agonizing days in which to 'enjoy' his triumph. Now that Aloysius VI had to mourn his son, he was in even less of a mood to instigate a major conflict with the Banu Hashim, and expressly warned his uncle against trying to start such a war himself as well. While this decision would in time have baleful consequences for his heirs, in the short term the Emperor was primarily concerned with first elevating his grandson Aloysius Priminobelissimus (aged seven at the time) to the rank of Caesar well ahead of date, and secondly with surviving long enough that the new Aloysius Caesar would certainly be of age when it came time for him to take up the purple.

Saif al-Islam took full advantage of the continued lull in hostilities between the Christian and Islamic worlds, carrying his grinding offensive against the Yamani Kharijites onward through 972 and 973. As before, his advances were slow but inexorable, with the latter year proving a decisive one in the fortunes of the Hashemite forces in Southern Arabia. Early in 973 the Atabeg's army captured the major northern city of Sa'ada after much hard fighting across the Jibal as-Sarawat mountain range throughout the previous year, once and for all putting an end to Kharijite incursions in the direction of Najran, and soon afterward they settled in for a nine-month siege of the mountain stronghold of Kawkaban[6], which was situated just a few days' march northwest from Zayd's seat at Sana'a. Kawkaban proved an immensely difficult nut to crack – its fanatical defenders were well-stocked, and the redoubtable fortress itself had been built on the summit of a mountain overlooking the farmlands where Saif's army had encamped, with no easy way to approach it from any direction.

As Kawkaban controlled the western approach to Sana'a and the terrain made it too difficult to try approaching the Kharijite capital from any other direction, Saif al-Islam could not simply bypass Kawkaban, no matter how much he would have liked to. The Hashemite forces attempted a few probing assaults, but these were easily defeated by the defenders from their nigh-impregnable position despite the former's huge and still-growing advantage in numbers, forcing a lengthy and grueling siege instead – the Atabeg ended up committing nearly 30,000 men to besiege approximately a thousand defenders on that mountain (in no small part to deter any attempt at relief by Zayd and to replenish his own losses from attrition), and the besiegers sustained far more casualties from disease the Yamani summer heat than they did from skirmishes with the garrison. Fortunately for the Banu Hashim, a lack of Roman offensives from the north and their truce with the Baqliyya of Oman still holding meant they had all the time in the world to finish this particular fight: the siege began in March and ended in December, after the surviving Kharijites ran out of provisions and committed suicide rather than face inevitable torment in Hashemite captivity, finally clearing the path for a major push on Sana'a. Around the same time, the Atabeg also reconquered Ma'rib east of Sana'a, although fortunately for him the former Sabaean capital had long since fallen into disrepair and the Kharijites were unable to put up even a tenth of the fight they had at Kawkaban against him there.

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Turkic horse-archers of Saif al-Islam's vanguard riding through the arid Yemeni countryside on their way to Kawkaban, one of the keys to the last remaining Kharijite capital at Sana'a

Over in India, the Pandyas and Anuradhapurans began to test the forces they had been building up throughout 972 against one another in 973. Aparajitavarman divided the combined Pandya-Chola army, which was larger than Anuradhapura's, into one division which marched across Rama's Bridge and another which was ferried across the sea by his equally mighty navy. Both formations soon converged to concentrate on seizing a beach-head on Naga Nadu[7] (the 'land of the Naga people', as this part of northern Lanka was called then), first seizing the smaller isle of Nagadipa[8] as a forward base before pushing southward toward Anuradhapura itself. The Anuradhapuran kings had, for centuries, taken to augmenting his army with an increasing number of Tamil mercenaries from the subcontinental mainland, and there were some concerns among his officers that these men would defect to join their kindred under Pandyan pressure; however this did not happen, yet anyway, and though they failed to keep the invaders out of Lanka altogether the Tamil sellswords in Anuradhapuran service still in fact proved vital to holding back Aparajitavarman's first two attacks on the capital.

However, Aparajitavarman would not be easily dissuaded from pursuing his campaign of conquest to a victorious conclusion. Soon after the end of the monsoon season, he drew the Anuradhapurans into a major battle near the site of the mostly-abandoned Lankan former capital at Upatissagāma. There he pinned the Anuradhapuran army down with his infantry, routed their cavalry with his elephant corps and then directed said elephants into the rear of the Lankan forces. Almost needless to say, this was a disastrous blow to his rival Udaya, who was lucky to escape the ensuing carnage with his life. The weakened Udaya had little choice but to abandon Anuradhapura (with the majority of the able-bodied population following him) as Aparajitavarman renewed his advance on the Lankan capital, but the war was far from over: as his ancestors had once done when overwhelming Tamil forces came knocking, the defeated king withdrew to the region of Ruhuna which encompassed much of southern & southeastern Lanka, a land of many hills & mountains where said ancestors were able to bide their time until they gained an opportunity to oust the invaders from their seats in northern Lanka. He took with him the sacred Tooth of the Buddha, a relic which was originally brought to Lanka in the fourth century and had since served as a symbol of rightful rule for the Buddhist kings of Lanka.

974 marked a changing of the guard in the Holy Roman Empire, as the generation which led Christendom into the successful Crusade four decades ago now increasingly exited the stage. Of Aloysius IV's children, aside from Aloysius V, Charles of Burgundy had already passed years ago; this year, his middle children followed in rapid succession. Maria, the 'Abbess-General' of the Gabrielites, perished at the age of sixty-seven in the spring while Patriarch Constantine of Jerusalem and Grandmaster Michael were both found to have died in their sleep on what turned out to be the same morning in the autumn of this year, aged sixty-four – as they entered the world together, so the saying went, the twins now departed it together as well.

Unlike their elder and younger siblings, these three were canonized as saints for their spiritual achievements. These ranged from Maria's vast charitable works to Constantine's intellectual pursuits & research into captured Muslim technology (most importantly his translation of Arabic medical texts, ironically his research into the Islamic religion was not counted under this umbrella despite arguably having the biggest impact on Christians' understanding of Islam going forward) and Michael's undefeated military record as a champion of Christianity on battlefields from the Levant to the Pontic Steppe, surpassing even Aloysius I whose own otherwise-perfect record was marred by a single loss – for now, the best any Aloysian prince had managed against pagans and Saracens alike. These three were not the last saints of the Domus Aloysiani, but they would be the last truly notable ones (indeed the last individuals of such a caliber, for good and for ill) from the imperial house for the next several centuries. Together with their father they are said to have completed the process of expunging the stain left on their dynasty by their ancestor Arbogast's championing of paganism against Christianity (as represented by Theodosius Magnus and Stilicho) which began with Aloysius I's assumption of the purple.

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Princess/Sister/Mother Maria, the 'Abbess-General' of the Gabrielites, now joining her father and younger brothers in Heaven as the first saintess from the Aloysian family. A composer of religious hymns and famed sponsor of hospitals & convents under the Order's black-and-white umbrella, the princess went down in history as a beacon of all the good that women could do for Christendom during and after a crusade, without once having to lift a sword

The passing of the generation which led Christendom to victory in their last great war with the Islamic world coincided with the rise of, the Muslims hoped, their own generation of ever-victorious mujahideen. Before the likes of the Atabeg could consider challenging the Romans again (or, more realistically on account of their present weakness, raising the generation which would spearhead their next great jihad) however, he had to wrap up the Kharijite rebellion in the south. Using Kawkaban and Ma'rib as his springboards, Saif al-Islam launched a huge push against Sana'a this year, first amassing no fewer than 50,000 soldiers and then converging upon Zayd's seat from both the west and northwest. This huge army not only cost the Banu Hashim quite a bit of their dwindling resources, but it inevitably suffered heavily from attrition as it marched through the scorched earth of Yemen and constant Kharijite ambushes.

Nevertheless, the Kharijites could not kill off nearly enough of the Hashemite troops to derail this final leg of the Atabeg's campaign – more than 40,000 men still survived to finally encircle and lay siege to their final stronghold by mid-summer of this year. Saif al-Islam would need every last one of those men, as Sana'a was the most formidable stronghold he had come up against to date: not only were its thousands of devoted defenders well-provisioned and its name literally translated to 'well-fortified', a boast borne out by its stout walls (further strengthened by the Kharijites over the past years), but the city itself had been built in-between two more natural fortresses in the form of the mountains Jabal An-Nabi Shu'aib and Jabal Nuqum. Saif's first move was to take control of these mountains, which would not only allow him to properly invest Sana'a but also give him positions overlooking the city (most useful for his siege artillery) and eliminate the routes used by Zayd to smuggle additional supplies into his stocks. That however would certainly be no easy feat, as the Kharijites had restored or built quite a few smaller qusur (small castles) on & around both mountains, and even by the end of 974 the Hashemites had not fully completed this task against their dogged resistance.

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A Yamani mountain castle, one of dozens which the Hashemites had to overcome (if not by force, then by negotiation with the local sheik) on their long road to Sana'a. The Kharijite seat of power itself was defended by many smaller castles like this one, situated on the mountains overlooking & protecting the city, but at least Saif al-Islam knew the end was near once he got close enough to start besieging them

On the other side of the Indian Ocean, after consolidating his hold on a mostly-deserted Anuradhapura, Aparajitavarman made his first attempt at pursuing Udaya into Ruhuna. Like Saif al-Islam and his Hashemite troops many leagues away however, the Pandyans were frustrated by the difficult and remote terrain of the region, which provided Udaya and his partisans with numerous natural strongholds, hiding places and opportunities to ambush the numerically superior invaders. Defeat in the hills south of Anuradhapura, near the village of Ambewela, put an end to this Tamil incursion by August of 974. Instead of further squandering his resources on an immediate follow-up offensive, Aparajitavarman decided to instead work to consolidate his grasp on northern Lanka, beginning by settling thousands of his soldiers and their families to turn the previously-insignificant town of Pulatti-nakaram[9] into a major Pandya base, now renamed 'Jananathapuram' by the Tamil king.

In 975, the Moors and Spaniards launched their third expedition to Aloysiana. Rodrigo and Gostãdénu had taken every measure they could think of to guarantee success at long last this time, outfitting the exploring party with the first European replications of Islamic navigation technology taken from their forefathers' conquests in the Levant and North Africa as well as a sufficient quantity of supplies and even Christian Danish & Irish guides who swore that they had sailed to and back from the uttermost West before. To demonstrate their confidence in their chances this round, the two kings appointed highborn princes as joint captains of the expedition – Rodrigo chose his third son Bermudo while Gostãdénu chose his eldest grandson Sésénnéu, as both young men had some nautical experience and more importantly, had proven willing to listen to their more experienced crewmen when in crisis.

Come September this third Afro-Spanish expedition departed from Espal first for the Ésulas Ganarés, where they resupplied and added a seventh ship to their fleet. From there they sailed southwestward, consciously avoiding the Gorgades, and within days had lost all sight of land. Guided by fortuitous winds and their navigational instruments, the explorers persisted through five weeks at sea before once more spotting land, shortly before they would have eaten through the last of their once-formidable stocks of rations. Despite damage to two of their ships from coral reefs forcing them to row to the beach in their pinnaces, the princes and their crews gave thanks to God and planted three standards in the sand of the island they had reached[10] – the jeweled 'victory cross' of the Spanish (which had replaced the older Gothic eagle since the Theodefredings fought on the winning side of the Seven Years' War and the consequent revival of their kingdom), the solar chi-rho of Africa and the blue-and-white one of the Holy Roman Empire – before they proceeding to fish & hunt turtles and birds for food; not long afterwards they encountered the first Wildermen of these far western isles, and indeed the first Wildermen to be encountered by non-Insular or Scandinavian Europeans[11].

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Spaniards rowing from Prince Bermudo's ship to the first bit of land they had spotted in the New World, which they would soon name 'Santa María del Pilar' or simply 'Pilar', thereby finally achieving success in their exploratory missions after two costly failures in the past

As neither the Europeans nor these local Wildermen shared a common language, making it impossible for either Bermudo or Sésénnéu to explain why they were fishing on the tribe's territory, efforts at communication soon broke down and the suspicious locals threatened to enter into a skirmish with the outsiders. Sésénnéu was prepared to fight, but the calmer and less reckless Bermudo soothed tensions by making a peace offering of one of his many ornate rings and in so doing, got the Wildermen to understand that he was a prince of his people – and that he would very much like to speak to their prince. The natives agreed to present the Europeans to their kasike or chieftain, a man named Antülikan, and despite their continued communication difficulties they managed to reach a truce, with the Europeans peaceably sticking around for some time and being guided to the local springs so that they might refill their freshwater supply.

Bermudo & Sésénnéu remained in contact with Antülikan for several more days, learning more about his people (among other things, they translated his title into the Espanesco cacique and Afríganu gaséggé, a word which their descendants would use as a generic term for all Wilderman chiefs) and the island itself (dubbed Karukera or the 'Island of Beautiful Waters' by the locals, which was translated into 'Garugérra' by the Moors while Bermudo himself renamed the place 'Santa María del Pilar' after the first-ever Marian apparition said to have been beheld by the Apostle James while he was preaching in Hispania) as well as recruiting translators who they tried to teach their own tongues to from the ranks of his tribe. On the seventh day, the Europeans got caught up in a sudden raid by a rival tribe on Antülikan's village while they were visiting and helped repel the attackers, in the process demonstrating the superiority of their metal weaponry and light armor to the astonished tribesmen. After the raid had been dealt with, it was explained to the princes that the people of this lagoon had long suffered attacks from their stronger neighbors and hostile islanders, who plundered their homes whenever they could get away with it and would take away those they did not kill as slaves.

Bermudo volunteered to remain behind with some fifty men, in order to protect and train their new allies (in the process taking one of Antülikan's daughters, Laliwa, as his concubine in order to seal their alliance) while Sésénnéu would sail back home to report their findings and gather reinforcements along with one of the cacique's sons, who would prove the existence of not only new lands but new peoples that far southwest from Europe. This the African prince did by December, being carried by the winds not to either Spanish or African waters but rather to the Lusitanian port of Lisbon, though not before he took a detour to explore the seas west and north of Garugérra – he saw quite a few other islands, some of which seemed rather larger than Garugérra, though he never set foot on any of these before looping around to sail back home. As the Lusitanians had no good reason to obstruct this Stilichian prince, he was soon able to report his findings to his exultant father and grandfather, who agreed to furnish him with anything he asked for on his second voyage to the west (unfortunately, his Wilderman hostage died of illness before they could leave Lisbon). Of course, news that the Moors and Spaniards had found more islands in the waters around Aloysiana could not be hidden for long, spreading from Lisbon to the ears of the Lusitanian royals before Sésénnéu had even made it back to Africa and eventually making it to Aloysius VI's own desk by the year's end.

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A meeting between princes Bermudo & Sésénnéu on one hand, and the Wilderman chief ('kasike' or 'cacique') Antülikan on the other

But the Romans and their vassals were not the only ones to sail for the New World in 975. Over in Norway, victory was at hand for the Anglo-Danish, and the various descendants of Ráðbarðr were eager to finally complete their revenge. However, Hákon was not the sort of man to resign himself & his entire extended family to death at the hands of their wrathful kindred, and with his enemies tightening the net around Hálogaland while he was unable to rebuild his crippled army back into any condition to repel them, he decided that if he could not beat them in Norway then he would simply escape to greener pastures far away from their grasp. Magnus and Sigtrygg had somewhat expected Hákon's breakout attempt out of Lyngenfjorden – by now the last major fjord still under his control – since they figured he might just try such a desperate maneuver once boxed into a corner with not even an illusory hope of defeating their forces, but they were not prepared for the courage and ferocity of his warriors borne from that desperation, and the last Garmrsons successfully punctured through the allied blockade at the Battle of Bœr[12] on the summer solstice of this year.

These Norwegian die-hards managed to evade attempts by the allies to pursue them, traded their family jewels and finery for safe passage through the waters of the increasingly Christianized Norse Kingdom of the Isles, and made their way to Iceland. Both the English and Danish Ráðbarðrson branches were infuriated at their dynastic enemy having eluded their vengeance when they had come so close to delivering it, but realistically the expenses associated with hunting the Garmrsons down all the way to Iceland outweighed their bloodthirst. In any case, developments in the winter months made such a costly adventure seemingly unnecessary: despite having been driven from his seat at long bloody last, King Hákon had not lost his haughty and stubborn demeanor, which scarcely endeared him to the Norsemen who had settled Iceland – the Icelanders had gotten quite used to essentially living in a state of anarchy, knowing no ruler greater than the goðar (local landed strongmen who generally 'ruled' with an exceedingly light hand) and the rare sessions of the Alþingi ('All-Thing', an island-wide general assembly), and very few were inclined to support this prideful outsider when he demanded their aid in retaking his throne.

Despite having managed to survive multiple crushing defeats & near-death experiences and coming all this way, Hákon abruptly got himself killed in an altercation with the goði of Reyðarfjall[13] in December of 975, the news of which greatly amused his enemies back in Europe (including Eiríkr Sigtryggson, who had received the surrender of the last pro-Garmrson holdouts and was crowned King of Norway weeks after the Battle of Bœr) and cooled their tempers. Meanwhile this murder not only brought great despair but also confusion and a loss of purpose to the Garmrson household still on Iceland, as it became abundantly clear to them that there was no hope of using Iceland as a base from which to retake Norway – even if somehow they could bring a majority of the clearly fiercely independent-minded Icelanders onto their side, Iceland had neither the resources nor the manpower to make such a quest feasible. Rather than throw his life away chasing the Norwegian crown (an endeavor which he understood would require him to perpetuate the fratricidal Ráðbarðrson-Garmrson feud until either he had wiped out his Danish relatives or, more likely, they killed him), his last surviving son and heir Sæmundr decided to instead sail west and persuade those Norsemen who had settled in Vinland to rally to his banner, with the ultimate objective of establishing his own kingdom far away from Scandinavia and the troubles which had plagued his forefathers there. With any luck, the Vinlanders would prove more receptive to his proffered guidance than the Icelanders had been of his father's.

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A spirited debate between an Icelandic goði and Hákon the Exile over why the former should bow to the latter & support him wholeheartedly in his plans to retake Norway from Iceland

====================================================================================

[1] Torget.

[2] Vemundvik.

[3] Rødøya.

[4] Jimbolia.

[5] Oravița.

[6] Now part of Shiban Kawkaban.

[7] The Jaffna Peninsula.

[8] Nainativu.

[9] Polonnaruwa.

[10] Grande-Terre, the eastern half of Guadeloupe's largest island. The explorers first made landfall on the beach of Porte d'Enfer, a large lagoon on the northern coast of Grande-Terre.

[11] These would have been an Arawak tribe, related to the Taíno historically encountered by Columbus, as Arawak peoples were known to have migrated from the Orinoco Valley in modern Venezuela to populate the Caribbean islands around 500 BC.

[12] Bø, Nordland.

[13] Reyðarfjörður.

Sorry for the unusually long wait between the last chapter & this one guys, I came down with an eye infection (stye) and it's taking longer than expected to go away. The regular update schedule will resume once I'm definitively over it.
 
Well,vikings would go to America,and probably become pelagians,muslims would become stronger and start another jihad,and Spain&Moors meet Arawaks.
I hope,that here they would be better treated then in OTL.

What next? spaniards win thanks to better weapons,horses and few muskets in OTL,here they could still win - but instead defeating cunts Aztecs they would defeat cunt Tolteks.

Not so lucky in South America,nobody there created silly empire easy to conqer,like Incas later.

And,problems on Balkans. @Circle of Willis ,what about Emperor Alosius getting shot in his carriage when he visit Sarajevo ?
 

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