AH - Nestorian Mongolian Empire
It's time for an alternate history map again.
Inspired by an article about the Mongols in general and their believes in special I did some research (well, that means Google). Apparently a considerable part of the Mongols were Nestorian Christians (nothing new for me, but I was surprised about the extent).
So I thought about some PODs which could strengthen this fact:
- Temujin converts to Nestorianism (maybe saved by some wandering monk or a 'vision' before a battle (like Constantine) )
- Nestorianism is a more developed and structured faith than in history and gains more strength
- Möngke Khan dies later so Hülegü doesn't return to Mongolia in 1259
- Möngke Khan dies in 1259 (as in OTL) but Hülegü leaves a much larger force in Syria
I think the most interesting PODs are the 3 and 4, but I think also a combination of 2 and 3 has its charm.
I will use a map from the CIA factbook as base.
That's the map after some editing.
A Nestorian Mongolian empire would have been quite interesting indeed, particularly regarding to the Crusades.
For instance, when the Mongols first showed up in the Near East in the mid-1200's, the Pope actually sent a delegation -which included a hefty number of Dominican and Franciscan friars- all across Asia to meet the Great Khan at his court in Qaraqorum, in an attempt to covert him to Catholicism. However, he responded by demanding the Papacy to submit to Mongol domination.
Christians initially hoped that the Mongols might prove allies in defending the Holy Land (which by then was on the brink of collapse on the hands of the Mamluks), mostly because people rumoured they had all become Nestorians (even though that particular branch had been declared heretic after the Second Council of Ephesus, Christian is Christian). Some even believed they were the armies of Prester John, rallying from his mythical realm on the east to save Christendom in its darkest hour.
Had the Mongols actually been Nestorians, or had the papal legates managed to convert the Great Khan to Catholicism, the history of the Near East would have been tremendously different, as they would have most likely allied with the Christians of Outremer and together repel the Mamluk attacks.
At the same time, one has to wonder how would have the relationship between Mongols and Europeans have shaped should the former have been Christians. After all, even after the Golden Horde had officially converted to Islam, clashes between Mongols and Muslims raged on for a long time. I'd imagine Christian Mongols would have perhaps been a bit more forgiving with Poles and Germans, but I'm not sure they would have stopped conquering everything in their path. Perhaps such conversions would have even made them more keen on conquering Europe, under a pan-Christian banner.
Still, given the tendency of Mongols to fracture down into smaller, mostly independent realms, there would still be the question of whether or not the likes of the Persian Ilkhanate (the most powerful Mongol state in the Middle East by the 1300's) would have acted any different from what they did. After all, they mainly fought Muslims, not Christians, so even as Nestorians I think they would have acted pretty much the same.
A more far-flung idea would be that, as Nestorians, the Mongols would have sought some kind of legitimacy over the rest of Christendom, perhaps seeking to control the likes of Constantinople or Rome in search for domination as the true Christian faith, in contrast with how history turned out (as in they merely sending threats of subyugation to the Pope and other western rulers, but never really doing much beyond that).
In any case, a very intersting subject to work with!
Even in OTL the Mongols treated Christians - thanks to Nestorian influence - more favorable than Muslims, e.g. the Christians in Baghdad were the only part of the population that survived the conquest. With Christian Mongols I can only see an even harsher policy in this direction. Had Hülagü not gone back in 1259, he had crushed the Mamluks, I think this can be viewed as >99%. He had - depending on the source - a force between 100.000 and 150.000. So: fall of Egypt in 1260 or 1261. With the Coptic Christians there they would have a strong ally. And then - remember, our Mongols are Christians on a campaign that can be seen as a crusade to a certain extent - conquest of Arabia as homeland of Islam. If you see what they did in Baghdad, you can imagine what they had done to Mecca and Medina. These cities would probably have been razed. History would have changed.
This map is still in development, but I think I will portrait a similar scenario, depicting a Nestorian Ilchanat (or a Holy Nestorian Empire) on the height of its power, probably around 1450 - 1500. It will surely take much effort to check the city names on the map, and replace them either with the historical names they had in Byzantine/Roman times or finding the Persian names.
Last edited by Sapiento; 02-27-2012 at 03:27 AM.
I replaced all city names with their pre-Arabian names, so most have now their Greek or Persian form. Some names are inventions.
Also a first idea for the flag.
I'm still not sure about the name. Maybe Holy Mongolian Empire or Empire of Mesopotamia.
I went to the university library yesterday to get some books about the Mongols, to get a better insight into their politics and culture. They had an awesome organization and excellent military leaders, but very brutal methods to create terror. At one point of the book it is mentioned that northern China had ~50 million inhabitants under the Chin emperors. During their first count after the conquest the Mongols came to only 9 million. Probably the result of the Mongol thinking: horses are more worth than peasants.
It seems I have problems with the upload manager.
Looking good Sap! Very interesting subject.
After some pause, again an update.
Some labels need a better legibility, and maybe I change the name of the empire (again), but I think it's 95% completed.
Very nice indeed!
The only thing I'd change a bit is the way the "Holy Persian Empire" name is displayed as three separate words. Maybe align them so it looks more seamless?
Other than that, fantastic job.