Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Hungarian Byzantine Dynasty? Venetian Revival? Italy (Mostly) United in 1848?

Although I'm still self-banned from the alternate-history forum and have no inclination to go back (cutting down on Twitter usage to free up time and avoid social media anger fatigue as well), I still drop in on the public forums. The pre-1900 section has some fun stuff lately.

A History of the Oungrikos Dynasty of Roman Emperors: The Six Emperors – 1180 to 1330-My first professional publication was an article in a military history magazine on the Battle of Manzikert, so the Byzantines during their early decline (after Manzikert, before the Fourth Crusade) is a period of particular interest. Apparently there was an episode of Byzantine history in which seemed a dynastic union of the Byzantine Empire and the kingdom of Hungary was possible--sometime last year someone wrote a timeline called "The Turul on the Bosporus" that covers the same ground (and has a more entertaining narrative besides). In this version, the personal union allows for a revival of Byzantine fortunes in Anatolia and a formal alliance with the Mongol Ilkhanate, which benefits my favorite maybe-heretical Christian branch the Nestorian Church of the East.

(They established the first large-scale presence of Christians in China under the Tang Dynasty, a Japanese Nestorian may have been the inspiration for the alleged grave of Jesus in Japan, and the Mongol ruler Sartaq Khan was either Nestorian or Orthodox.)

The Lion of St. Mark: Venice and the Morean War-The divergence from our history seems to be the early death of Louis XIV, who in real life died in 1715 but in this timeline dies in 1683. This in turn affects The Great Turkish War and leads to a very different Louis XV--the Sun King's adult son, not his real-life grandson. I think the overall "point" of the timeline is that the decline of Venice is averted and its Mediterranean empire continues. I once read a book called City of Fortune about the medieval Venetian republic and although they were oftentimes very unpleasant people (the Fourth Crusade comes to mind, as does their chronic mistreatment of the Greeks under their rule), they were masters of trade and the inspiration for the city-state of Everett in my steampunk novel Battle for the Wastelands.

(Although Grendel, first lord of the Northlands, is the master of the land, Everett controls the sea and thus the majority of the trade with the lands beyond the Iron Desert. They play quite a role in the future of the series.)

The timeline seems to have only just started, but the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria in particular seems to be doing better. No Bourbon dynasty in Spain will also have plenty of effects on Latin America.

Italico Valore - A more successful 1848 revolution in Italy - a TL-The revolutions of 1848 were a major lost opportunity in terms of human freedom, with the kings ultimately suppressing the people and maintaining some form of the monarchical regimes for another generation or so (longer if you count the imperial government in Germany). This time around, the Italians are more decisive and effective when the Austrians are at their weakest and northern Italy is unified in a sort of federal constitutional monarchy, with the son of the Sardinian king as the new king of Sicily. Only Naples remains under the old regime. Side effects include the permanent legal exclusion of the Bonaparte family from power in France, so there's no Second Empire. Good riddance.

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