Bronze Age New World: Suleyman the Fierce (OTL the Magnificent) [Can be read by non-BANW readers] Part 1: The Frankish Disease

The New World is shaping up to be a very interesting place, but to a large part itís fate will not be determined in America but, like in our timeline, instead it will be determined in Europe. So before I go back and explore the colonization of America, I want to take a trip back to the Old World. This will be a major effort, and Iíll be exploring it over a fairly long period of time. Basically as of 1520 the Old World has not effected the New much more than OTL. There are some tantalizing ruins, some interesting luxuries, but other than that itís much the same. However, after 1520 all that changes. The wealth and goods from the New World are set to start diverging in a major way from OTL, but far more importantly is the Tloggotl virus. This ends up killing millions of people in Europe and the Middle East, and after that the divergences from OTL become obvious and apparent. So I will be exploring these through a series of posts. To start off with I will be exploring not Europe, but the Ottoman Empire, which was arguably the most powerful force in Europe at the time. Now, most peopleís knowledge of Suleyman the Magnificent is not that high, so I will be providing a lot of background information as well. So without further a due, I give you the Reign of Suleyman the Fierce:


Suleyman (or SŁleyman or Suleyman or any of a half dozen ways of spelling his name) began his rule rather luckily because his father, Selim the Grim began his short reign (1512-20) with a massacre. The Ottoman Sultanate was based upon the law of fratricide, so when Selim the Grim came to power he strangled two brothers, five nephews, and sixty-two other relatives. But Selim then went a little further and killed four of his five sons so that the fifth, Suleyman, would inherit the throne without the need to kill his brothers. Suleyman was very grateful to good old Dad for this.

Suleyman came to be known as Suleyman the Fierce in the West, but he was not known as such in the Dur-Al Islam. The title of ďthe FierceĒ was given to him in Europe, as a badge of honor of his enemies. But back home, while the struggle in Europe was important, it was not as important to his subjects as his internal activities. For the rest of the existence of the Ottoman Empire he was known as the kanuni (lawgiver) because of a new codification of seriat undertaken by him. He was a wise ruler who brought forth what many considered to be the highpoint of the Ottoman Empire. He was steadfast in his determination to rule well, but Suleyman was also a man, and sometimes he made unwise decisions because he was subject to the failings of all humans Ė jealousy, pride, and fear. He was also fond of pagentrly, luxury, splendor, and courtesans. It was under his reign that the Sultans harem grew to truly astonishing levels. [Insert Doug Muir description here.] But unlike his predecessors, he was able to keep his desires under control. In addition, he was a lavish patron of the arts and of literature, as well as being a highly respected poet in his own right. After his glorious coronation as Sultan in 1520, he swiftly began building a tomb and a mosque and a school in honor of his father, he freed 1,500 Egyptian and Persian captives, paid merchants for goods Selim had confiscated, and a removed and/or executed number of corrupt officials in high places. [1]

[1] This is pretty much the same as OTL. He was born sufficiently close enough to the time when the Bronze Age New World began to effect Eurasia, that I think he shouldnít really be any different. He is, along with Charles V, the last historical figures from OTL that I will be using. After this, their very well may be a Queen Elizabeth (or what-not), but she will be at least a fair degree different from OTL and these differences will increase as time progresses. This is, IMHO, the best way to deal with the question of historical personas in AH.

Istanbul (was Constantinople) was an exciting place to be in the (long, hot) summer of 1521. There was much talk of the coming campaign against the Franks (specifically Serbia, but at this time almost all Europeans were referred to as The Franks), the beginnings of Suleymanís reforms were under way and heartily approved of, and people were genuinely optimistic about the future under their new young Sultan. Among someof the (few) educated persons who had knowledge of Europe, their was much gladness at the seaming disarray that Christendom was under. The news from Spain was particularly heartening as it appeared their was a minor civil war, and a great plague in that land. Among some strategists it was wondered if after the Belgrade campaign if it might not be time to increase the Empireís North Africa holdings. The mood of the city, and the empire, could be summed up with a phrase that was common at the time, ďThe Empire of Constantinople had fallen; the Holy Roman Empire is next.Ē

But then a Moor, who had fled for his life from Spain, appeared in Istanbul. His name is lost to history, but from all probability it appears as if he caught the_El Derretir_, the

Melting, (aka the Tloggotl virus) right before he caught a ship to Istanbul. The winds must have been good, for the ship managed to get to Istanbul in time for him to not only infect most of his ship-mates, but to also enter the city. After that, their was no stopping it.

From city to city the virus spread, leaving death and disfigurement in itís wake. It would spread from Istanbul to the rest of Turkey within a month, down into Arabia in two, and to Cairo and Antioch later that year. It petered out before it reached Persia, but not before it killed 1.2 million Ottomans and blinded and/or horribly maimed another 750,000, out of a pre-plague population of only 12 million. [2]

[2] This will cause major demographic effects for the Ottomans. In OTL, the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent was one of demographic explosion. The Ottoman Empire increased from 12 million to 22 million. That was partly due to conquest, but also to increased natural growth. Here, that growth (and the conquest) will be severely hindered not just by the immediate deaths, but also the missing births and the decreased standards of living due to the resources used up taking care of the blind and maimed.

Although personally unaffected, Suleyman watched with horror at what was happening to his empire. The particularly grisly deaths disturbed him the most. He wrote a particularly moving poem about it that is still used in practically every history book of the Ottomans in this period.



I see the death all around my city,

My home under siege by an enemy I canít fight or see,

It kills, it maims, it blinds,

It cares not for good, not for evil,

Not for the believer, not for the heathen,

Just for blood,

I see my friends face melt around him,

I see the life leave his eyes,

I see a strong Army liquefy,

I see hopes fail and dreams die,

And I can do nothing.


Particularly hard struck by the Frankish Disease [3] was the army that was assembling in Istanbul to march on Belgrade. Large numbers of men concentrated together were a perfect environment for the virus. It worked with deadly efficiency and almost 25% of the army was either killed or maimed before the plague subsided. Before even setting out, the men saw more of their comrades die than any had imagined the coming campaign would bring. Their moral was badly shaken. It was one thing to see your comrades fall in battle, for dieing in the fight for God is the most noble death of them all, but to see your comrades become a gross parody of humanity by some strange new disease that you had never heard of, was an entirely different matter.

[3] OTL Syphilis would come to be known as The Frankish Disease, because it was supposed to come from their. Same-same with the Tloggotl in this TL.

Egypt was also another area that was hurt more than the rest. The dense nature of the Egyptian agriculture (concentrated exclusively along the narrow Nile strip) and the swift transport along the country allowed the virus to wreck havoc. And soon it would also let slip the dogs of war in that unhappy land. This would prove a serious blow to the Ottomans, as Egypt was for them, like the Romans, the breadbasket of the Empire. But that was in the future, in 1521 Egypt merely watched itís peoples die slowly and in great pain.

Sultan Suleyman was distraught by the disaster that befell his land, but he was also determined that it not interfere with the main function of the Ottoman government, the making of war and the collecting of taxes to support the making of war. Even though he did not occupy the lands of Caesar, he claimed them for his own. He did after all believe that the entire world was his possession as a gift of God. And so, in 1521, despite the plague, Suleyman, Slave of God, powerful with the power of God, deputy of God on earth, obeying the commands of the Qurían and enforcing them throughout the world, master of all lands, the shadow of God over all nations, Sultan of Sultans in all the lands of Persians and Arabs, the propagator of Sultanic laws, the tenth Sultan of the Ottoman Khans, Sultan son of Sultan, and master of the world, set off to conquer Belgrade.




Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 2: Belgrade Knights

If the virus had hit the Ottoman Empire hard, it was relatively light among the Hungarians. There were occasional outbreak the further south on went, but it did not ravage and destroy on Hungary on the same order of magnitude that it did the Ottomans. Which was Lucky for the Hungarians for they were in a bad enough state as it was.

Hungary, in 1521, was a divided and volatile country. In 1514, their was a terrible peasant rising, the main result of which was the enslavement of the Hungarian peasantry. Later in the same year, the "Savage Diet" was assembled to punish the rebels and restore order. Almost all of itís enactments were directed against the peasants, who were henceforth bound to the soil and committed absolutely into the hands of "their natural lords." It was not long until the laboring population was a sullen and hostile mass. In addition to this, there was also a man named *Janos Zapolya of Transylvania, who was just waiting for the death of the king, so he could obtain the throne. Despair was palpable. As the Venetian ambassador wrote to his government. ďThings cannot go on like this much longer. The war of each against all continued; no taxes are collected; the holders of the royal domains refuse to surrender them at the command of the diet; and the boy king has very often neither clothes to wear nor food to eat. The whole atmosphere of society is one of rapine and corruption. If this realm could be saved at the expense of three florins, there is not a man here willing to make the sacrifice." [1]

[1] Not actually JŠnos ZŠpolya, but somebody in this TL damned close to him. And the situation in Hungary is the same as in OTL.

Against this weak and decadent government, stood that of Suleyman the Fierce. His army had been decimated two and a half times over, but their was fire and drive in his eyes, and united Empire at his back. His objective this year was relatively straight forward, for the capture of Belgrade was absolutely required for any future decisive Ottoman attack against Hungary, since the army could not leave the enemy with a fortress like Belgrade at itís back. But this was not easy. For the fall of the castle required the conquest of a long system of fortifications stretching across the southern border of Hungary.

Suleymanís greatest concern was logistics, not the Hungarians. For Belgrade was on the outermost limits of his empire, and fielding a large army their would not be easy. In addition the outbreak of disease had delayed his army from setting out as early as he would have like. Their had been much turmoil in the homeland that had required his personal decisions, but every day he had stayed in the capital was one less day he had to campaign. He feared winter far more than he did the Hungarians. Their was one morbid silver lining as he surveyed his army though; due to the plague it was a good deal smaller than he had originally planned. While this would make logistics easier, it was also cold comfort.

His army marched, and after a tough campaign against the southern forts, arrived at Belgrade in good time. But it was still much later in the year than Suleyman would have liked. The castle at Belgrade was large and fearsome. Over the next few weeks many an Ottoman would come to curse it. Belgrade was Hungary's bridgehead across the Danube, and they were at least semi-prepared for the Ottomans. Week after week, the Ottomans bombarded the fortress, but still itís walls stood. Massed attack after attack was launched, but still itís defenders did not surrender. In the end, after the 20 assault, the Ottomans ran out of time. Some wanted to keep pushing, sure that the fortress would fall. Suleyman was tempted, but his wisdom prevailed and he decided it was not Godís will that this Castle be liberated . . . this year. [2]

[2] In OTL it took weeks of bombardment and twenty massed attacks, but Belgrade did fall in 1521. After that the Ottomans stopped and consolidated their gains. Here, Belgrade holds out better due to the weaker nature of the Turkish Army, and the delay that they arrived. Also, the Ottomans morale is lower due to the plague. In this ATL, historians continue to debate this decision to the present day. Belgrade might very well have fallen if the Ottomans had pushed on much longer, but on the other hand it was getting too late in the year to campaign and if it didnít fall the Ottoman Army could have faced disaster.

When the Belgrade garrison sees the last of the Ottoman flags disappear over the horizon, their was a tremendous cheer from the besieged castle. The men could scarcely believe what had happened. They had been in desperate straights, but then it began to dawn on them. The Ottomans, the most powerful empire in Europe, the scourge of Christendom, the unstoppable heathen horde, had been defeated. Not gloriously defeated and conquered, but defeated none the less. If the news was joyous to Belgrade, it was scarcely less so in the Hungarian court. When news of the invasion had reached them, they had _hoped_ that Belgrade would fall, but many were surprised and all were joyous. Indeed, one cook was so inspired by the victory that he designed a new pastry to commemorate the victory. He based it off of the flag of the defeated enemy, and so was born the most famous Hungarian pastry of them all, the crescent. If was very tasty, and every time someone at court ate one, it was a nice little reminder that they had won. Things didnít need to change. They had _won_! Maybe for Hungary things would turn out all right after all.

They wouldnít.

Suleyman was greatly angered over his loss. His first major campaign and it had ended in failure. Oh sure, he had held on to a couple of important strategic forts in Southern Hungary, but the main one of Belgrade had eluded his grasp. But the next year . . . the next year he would show them. He would show them all.

The next year, 1522, Suleyman showed them. He showed them all. His army left fairly early in the year and in greater numbers and with more siege equipment than it had the last time. The effect was devastating. Wishful thinking, an inability to collectivize and organize, lack of civic resolve, and pure bloody-mindedness combined in the Hungarians to produce an army even more un-prepared than in 1521. Belgrade falls, and falls hard.

Panic quickly spreads throughout Hungary, and indeed much of Europe. There was some loose talk of forming some united crusade of Christendom against the Ottomans, but with Europe racked with rivalries it remained talk. Indeed, Francis I (of France) was quite impressed with the fall of Belgrade and went so far as to send out feelers to Suleyman for help in his wars against Charles V of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. When these feelers reached him, Suleyman considered them very carefully. (Try to find Islamic quote here along the lines of ďThe Enemy of my enemy is, or can be, my friend.) [3]

[3] Francis began putting out feelers to the Ottomans in 1521, OTL, but they didnít get serious until later. The Wars between Francis I and Charles V go different in this TL due to Spain getting whacked in 1520 with the same virus that hurt the Ottomans. This will be explored later on in a different thread.

After the fall of Belgrade, there was much talk about marching even further North, but in the end, Suleyman was against it. The Hungarians had been taught a lesson by the fall of Belgrade, and if they were smart (not common among the Franks, but one could hope), they would realize their situation and eventually become good vassals. Besides, it would be a little late in the year to start another major campaign with some ill-defined objective. That wasnít how Suleyman liked to operate. You set a goal. You achieved that specific goal. And then you consolidated so you could go further. For now, he had other plans. [4]

[4] Same as OTL. In 1521 after the fall of Belgrade their was talk of going further, but Suleyman rejected it for the reasons listed above.


Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 3: Rhodes to Rebellion

In 1523 the Ottoman Empire was on the upswing. It was impossible to forget the dark days of 1521 of course (how could anyone when hundreds of thousands were still blind or disfigured from the disease?), but at least it now seemed as if things were getting better. The capture of Belgrade was nice of course, it was always good to show the uncivilized heathens there place, but far more important was the internal improvements Suleyman was beginning to enact at this time. By the end of his reign, Suleyman brought the old legal codes up-to-date by specifying, codifying, and simplifying the confused system of custom and practice. He revised the condition of Christian subjects by regulating their taxes. He imposed more lenient laws for crimes based on fines instead of bodily punishment. He regulated the markets and guilds, prices and wages, and trade. And laws were increasingly enforced by a strong central government. Now all of these were just in their beginning stages in 1523, but the were all in the air. [1]

[1] Same OTL. His internal improvements were not effected greatly by foreign affairs, so I will have them happen more or less like in OTL

While internal improvements were vitally important to Suleyman, not least of all the glorious new architectural works he was building, but he was also a conquer by nature. Their were a number of places he wanted to strike at, but revenues were down. The plague had hurt the empire were it really mattered, in itís homeland. The Ottoman Empire, like all Empires of itís day, was based upon peasants. The plague had killed or maimed 1 in 6 of them, and that meant that at one stroke the empire lost a sixth of itís wealth and power. More, considering that those who were crippled were now a net loss for the Empire. No reasonable war could have come close to inflicting that much devastation of the Empire. But one had to work with what one had. The Ottoman Empire may be weaker than it was before the plague, but it still had enemies it needed to face. It still had lands it needed to conquer. Not least of which was the island of Rhodes, which had become the headquarters for the Christian Knights Hospitallers, who besides being heathen and dangerously close to Egypt, also allowed Catalan and Maltese pirates to strike at the Empire. It would have to fall. And fall it did, but not easily. For the Knights of St. John put up a valiant defense only giving up after a 145-day siege. They had hoped for help from other Christian Kings, but this remained a chimera. But, even in victory, Suleyman offered noble terms to the defeated. The Knights of St. John would be allowed to leave in twelve days. If they stayed longer they would then become subjects of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, civilians could depart anytime within three years. This was regarded as quite a shock in Europe. Many kings doubted if they would be so generous. But no good deed goes unpunished. For the Knights of Saint John were resettled onto a rock of an island by the beginning of the next decade. This would seem to be of no consequence, but decades later Suleyman would curse that islands name; Malta. [2]

[2] This is almost exactly what happened in OTL, save itís one year later. Yes, the Ottomans are weaker, but they didnít have to commit their full forces to it, and the power differentials are still pretty huge.

But the victory at Rhodes was offset by a disaster in the very land itís conquest was meant to protect. Egypt had been under Ottoman control for less than six years in 1523, and many in it were not happy. The Mamulks continued to be a powerful force in Ottoman Egypt, and following the plague their was much dissatisfaction among them. Besides being the most heavily hit of all Ottoman provinces, Egypt had been squeezed too hard in the last two years. Replacing the soldiers lost through the plague and first attempt on Belgrade had been costly, and as the breadbasket Egypt had been forced to pay for a lot of it as well as food and fodder for the Second Belgrade Campaign and the Siege of Rhodes. There was also widespread feelings among some that the plague was God punishment for Egypt allowing itself to come under sway of the Ottomans. In the midst of this fault line was an ambitious Turkish governor of Egypt. The Siege of Rhodes presented him with the perfect opportunity. He had dreams of becoming Sultan himself, and to that he had a plan. Egypt was dissatisfied, and with the active help of him, itís governor, it could easily be pushed to rebellion. The Sultanís forces were busy with the Siege, but if they stopped it and tried to deal with the rebellion in Egypt then the heathens in Rhodes could cut off his forces. It was a win-win situation. And after he was in control of Egypt, and the Sultan had a plague and two failed campaigns (against Christians!) who could doubt that he had lost the favor of God? And after that, the rode to him would be open. And even if it wasnít, Sultan of Egypt wasnít bad either.

It didnít work that way though. Suleymanís forces finished with Rhodes, and then quickly moved south to Egypt. But the Governor of Egypt had consolidated his power at that point, and there was a brief civil war in Egypt. It doesnít last long, Suleymanís forces are just too strong, but before itís over Cairo was sacked, and a good part of Egypt was torn up. However, the (former) Governor of Egypt escaped far south down the Nile; disappearing into the Sudan. A very large bounty is placed on his head, but it was never collected.

When Suleyman surveyed the wreckage of Egypt he learns two important lessons. 1) Lands and peoples can only be pushed so far. A wise ruler will not try to make someone carry more water than they can bear. For to do so will only result in spilt water, or a split head. 2) Itís far cheaper to prevent a rebellion than it is to crush one. The Ottoman Empire needs to put itís lands under more direct Turkish control and keep itís governors on a tight leash. Both of these came to pass. If the Turks just gripped tight enough, than none of the provinces would be able to slip through their fingers. [3]

[3] In OTL in 1524 an attempt WAS made by the Turkish governor of Egypt to set himself up as sultan. It failed, but the more depressed and chaotic empire, as well as the situation presented above, convinces him to try earlier and in a different manner. It was after this attempt that Ibrahim, the Sultans advisor, completely re-organized the government of the country, with more effective control by the Turks.


Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 4: Buda With Mohacs

When Suleyman came home from re-conquest of Egypt in a fairly good mood, and as he often did he took a trip to his harem. [Insert Doug Muir Harmen quote here.] But Suleyman was able to resist it. For a change, that night he pleased himself with the with the Sultana, Rose of Spring. He wished she were more bubbly sometimes, but overall he thought she was a good Sultana and thought that they would probably be together for a long time. She had already born him a son, and he considered if he should do the same as his father had done, and kill off all his children save one. It was something to consider, but not yet. [1]

[1] In OTL this is about the time when the Sultan was beginning to be enamored with Roxana, a captured Ukrainian slave girl. She was called, "The Laughing One," and soon became his favorite, and after that became his wife. It was the first time a Sultan had a wife in hundreds of years. She also manipulated it so he killed off his children of Rose of Spring, so that hers would become Sultan. However, her son was a drunken-fool and caused many problems for the Ottoman Empire. In this TL she either never exists, or is sent to a different harem to replace a girl lost in the plague. OTL her rise to power was a very improbable event.

1524 and 1825, 1826 passed with nothing of importance happening, at least for the Ottomans. Oh, there was a reform here, a new law there, a small campaign at that place, a new official at that other place, but nothing to get excited about. There were things going on in Europe at this time, but that wasnít really much of concern to Suleyman, save perhaps for the increased contact with the French who were asking for an alliance against the Spanish. That did deserve to be watched as did the fact that Venice also began to side with the Ottomans in fear and greed of Charles V. However by 1527, Ottoman interests required an attack on Hungary, mainly because it was now agreed that they could. [2]

[2] 1526 OTL. Plague and the delayed other campaigns kind of do a ping-pong thing and push it back. I take the view that Hungary was so messed up at this time that an extra-year really wouldnít have made much of a difference for them.

Hungary was ill-prepared for the attack, and when Louis hastily tried to unite Hungary all he accomplished was assembling some 25,000 ill-equipped gentlemen and calling it an Army. At Mohacs, this pitiful force faces the might of the Ottoman Empire and after a two-hours' fight, were annihilated, the king, both the archbishops, five bishops and 24,000 men having perished on the field. In fact, Suleyman was so overwhelmed by this crushing defeated that he refused to believe that the ďArmyĒ he faced was the national army of Hungary. He occupied Buda, a very important strategic town, and quickly went home. But not before he took 105,000 captives, who would fill the bazaars of the Empire for months to come. But in some ways this was bad news for the Ottomans, for King Louis was killed in the battle. Suleyman had hoped to make him a vassal, and instead he found himself in a country with no King. But a situation like that never lasts long, and it was not long before someone stepped forward and claimed the Crown. His name was John Zapolya and he was the man the Turks pick to be their puppet. But the rest of the country isnít to happy at this idea and a contender, Ferdinand of Hapsburg, brother of Charles V, quickly rallied the rest of the country against the Ottoman overlords. [3]

[3] OTL, one year later.

The Ottoman overlords are actually no longer in the country. They were happy enough with Zapolya, and more importantly it was impossible to find supplies and housing for such a large mass of people during the winter months; and as landowners and administrators the timar landowners could not be absent from their residence over such a long period of time. Besides, Safavid Shah Tahmasp of Persia was continuing the policies of his father Shah Ismaíil and acting overtly hostile to the Ottomans, going so far as to provoke the Qizilbash to revolt in Anatolia in 1527. [4]

The revolt was put down with not much difficulty, but itís also more land in the Sultans kingdom that will be unproductive for a while because itís inhabitants are inconveniently dead. And in many peopleís minds itís all the Persians fault. At it was at this time that news reached the Ottomans that the Shah had just given a favorable reception to envoys from Charles V. That causes much consternation among the Ottomans. For it is the common view that the Europeans can be dealt with as needed, but if they combined with a real threat like Persia . . . It was at this time that the French ambassador suddenly found himself treated much better. [5]

[4] Same time and way as in OTL, but the rebellion was greater due to more dissatisfaction due to the plague and higher taxes to make up for losses of same.

[5] The diplomatic activity between Charles V and Persia is greater in this TL because Charles is more desperate than in OTL. Ditto for that between the Ottomans and the French.

Throughout 1528 Civil War raged in Hungary between forces supporting Archduke Ferdinand (and behind him Charles V) and Zapolyai. But once the Ottomans are gone, Zapolyai finds his forces dwindling and dwindling, while Ferdinand speedily improved his position all throughout 1528, driving Zapolyai first from Buda and then from Hungary. And by the end of the year he was elected and crowned King by a properly assembled diet.

Wisely, Ferdinand asked Suleyman to recognize him as king of Hungary, and even went so far as to offer to pay an annual tribute. Suleyman thought long and hard about this offer all throughout 1529. He needed peace in the West to pursue a campaign against Safavid Shah Tahmasp ruler of Persia. But on the other hand, possession of Buda was essential to the Ottoman Empire because it enabled them to control the Danube, thus preventing the Habsburgs from launching a serious attack against the Empire. In the end, perhaps the most import part of Suleymanís decision to take back Buda was that he viewed it and _his_. It was _his_ land, he was promised it by God, he took it, and now it was his to bestow. And he had promised the throne to Zapolyai, and so to the throne Zapolyai would go. Thus, in 1530, the Ottoman Empire would march on Buda, and this time people _were_ talking of going all the way to Vienna. [6]

[6] So far this timeline has remained pretty much like ours. Their our some changes, but the weaker nature of the Ottoman state has not been demonstrated much on the field of battle. This is because so far the Ottomans havenít been fighting in their weight class. Theyíve been going after relatively small and/or disorganized enemies. In those situations being 10 or 20% less powerful doesnít matter much, because they still outnumbered them enough to decisively defeat them. That is about to change.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 5: Hungry Hungry Hungaries

1530 Alto Domingo saw the opening up a new front in Hungary which absorbed enormous funds, energy, and thousands of lives of an empire which was still recovering from a decimating plague, already involved in wars in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, and beginning to suffer from imperial overreach. Of course, that could be a description of either of the combatants, The Holy Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire. They were the super-powers of the day, and even though weakened and under attack by other enemies, both soon came to see each other as their foe of destiny, who they fought for the good of the world, if only the world would be wise enough to see it.

Each had itís strength and each had itís weakness in the fight for Hungary. The Ottomans overwhelming disadvantage, which would be recounted in numerous history books but was largely underrepresented in there day, was them operating beyond their range of effectiveness. Buda lies far closer to Vienna than to Constantinople. The distance of Vienna to Buda is only 240 km, which can be covered in a 16 days march. But for the Ottomans it was an order of magnitude harder as Constantinople to Buda is a 1,460 km 97 days' march (of which Belgrade-Buda is about a third, 460 km 31 day march).

After an pitched battle, the Ottomans managed to take and hold Buda. They could have chosen to consolidate their gains, but their was fire in Suleymanís eyes and blood in his stare. He had left the job half finished before, and all he got for it was trouble. Not this time. After taking Buda one of his commanders is supposed to have told him that, ďNow, God willing, we will take Vienna.Ē To which Suleyman is alleged to have said, ďWe shall take it even if God is not winning.Ē This makes a good story, but is widely believed to be apocryphal by most historians. Suleyman was paid for his (apocryphal) blasphemy, for upon reaching the heights of Vienna the Turks fought a battle that was a tactical draw, but ended up being a strategic defeat. Partly because of valiant resistance of the enemy, partly because of wretched weather and inability to bring up the heavy artillery, the Ottomans ended up retreating. [1]

[1] It was a harder fight than OTL, but again the odds were strongly with the Ottomans in Buda. But the siege of Vienna is the first time that are going up against a REAL enemy, and the losses from the plague, rebellion, and delays finally show up and hit home on the battlefield.

Suleyman thought long and hard before rejecting repeated offers by Ferdinand to pay tribute for Hungary in return for recognition. He was upset over his second loss to the Franks, but he seems to have taken it better than he did his first loss in Belgrade. He was older and wiser now, and began to believe that their was proper pace to conquest. He had tried to do to much was all. The conquest of Buda was fine, but he never should have pressed on to Vienna. That was his mistake. Trying to do too much at once. He would consolidate his vassal in Buda, and maybe try for Vienna some other year. There was certainly no need for anything as demeaning as recognition or a peace treaty that was not on Ottoman terms.

It would prove a fatal mistake, for the next year, 1531, Charles was able to launch an early assault on Buda. Charles was lucky in that it was one of the few times that he was not distracted by France, and so he could use the full weight of his power in the attack. It was launched early in the year, and after initiating a quick siege Buda fell to his forces. Suleyman responded with a counterattack, but constant rains slowed him for months, and the mud forced him to abandon his heavy guns before he got to Buda. After another battle resulting in a stalemate, his under equipped, dispirited troops withdrew--in heavy snow. They suffered badly on the way back to their warmer homelands. Yet Buda would remain in a constant struggle with the Ottomans for many years to come. [2]

[2] I think one of the chief regions for the failure to capture Buda by the west was timing. In OTL the Christian forces besieged Buda seven times in vain: in 1530, 1540, 1541, 1598,1602, 1603, and 1686, but only twice, in 1541 and 1684,were the assailants able to initiate the siege in May or July. Most times they reached Buda as late as September or October. Even when the siege was launched early enough it still had to be abandoned because of inadequate preparations and organization; when they started in autumn the besiegers were turned away either by the appearance of the relief expedition or by the coming of bad weather. Buda was recaptured only in 1686. On this occasion the Austrian, Hungarian, and Imperial forces reached Pest or Buda on June 17 and 18 and launched the siege in a matter of days. The Ottoman relief expedition showed up near the castle only on August 13, that is, on the 57th day of the siege, but did not venture to attack the besieging Christian forces. The castle fell on September 2, on the77th day. Had the Christian host not delayed its departure, but started off in May, it could have embarked on the siege a month earlier and completed it even before the arrival of the relief force. In this TL the early siege is one of the major reasons for the success, combined with greater Ottoman weakness than in OTL.

After the fall of Buda the theater of operations shifted to the southern regions of the country, and in spite of repeated efforts, the Ottomans were unable to recapture Buda. In the years to come, they would come close many times, but once the castle was lost, the Turkish army no longer had a strong enough logistical base, and it could not ever throw itís full weight against the Christian forces at the right time, due to distractions in other areas. But it was not completely forced out of Hungary. The Christians overly extended supply line put a brake on military operations and made it practically impossible for them to operate much beyond the River Sava. Some of Charles advisors talked about marching on to capture Belgrade, but that was an impossible dream and would remain so for a long long time. All they could do was hold on to what they had, and they couldnít even have done that if Suleyman wasnít distracted by the constant struggles against Shah Thamasp of Persia. Charles was very glad that he had reached an agreement, some even called it an alliance, with Thamasp. [3]

[3] Charles does worse against Francis in this TL, and this pushes him to go further to try and hold his own. There was a correspondence and some coordination between them in OTL. It would be an exaggeration to call it an alliance, however.

A few years of inconclusive battle ripped up the country until in 1534 when, by the secret peace of NagyvŠrad, Hungary was divided between the two competitors. By this treaty Ferdinand retained the upper two thirds of Hungary while ZŠpolya kept the south. [4] This was only peace just in Hungary though. No peace was made with Charles V, so that the naval war in the Mediterranean could continue.

[4] 1538 OTL, and Zapolya got 2/3rds instead of 1/3rd.

No side was happy with this arrangement, and it would be a constant source of friction, but in the end the borders didnít change much despite all the lives thrown at them. Each side had seamed to have reached the limit of itís abilities to advance. Suleyman accepted this with a weary heart. God had given the world to him as a gift, but he never said it would be easy to take it. If he could not actively fight here, there were other ways he could strike back. The problem was that Charles had been able to use his full forces due to the temporary lack of war with France, while he had to deal with the Persians. If Charles had to fight both battles at once . . . but that would entail a deal . . . . could he do it? After all, they were heathens . . . heathens like the ones who had beat him and kicked him out of Buda. After much thought Suleyman decides that the enemy of his enemy is, or can be, his friend. So, in 1534 he called and had a long talk with the ambassador of France. [5]

[5] This is a really big step. The Ottomans in OTL, and this TL, have a huge superiority complex over the west, and not without reason. The defeats it has suffered have pushed it further, and not only is the alliance sooner than OTL, itís also of greater significance and depth.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 6: Operation Barbarosa

The interaction between France and the Ottomans had been building for a long time. Since 1531 Francis had been encouraging Suleyman to invade or raid Charles possesions in the hopes that it would help him consolidate his hold over Italy, and Suleyman had even sent Francis 100,000 gold pieces for him to form a coalition with England and German Protestants princes against Charles. In light of this the alliance with France in 1535 was just a continuation of previous trends, but it would have major repercussions in Ottoman history. The Formal alliance between Suleyman and Francis I of France against the Hapsburgs was formalized in late 1535. This had been under discussion since 1525 and had led to some measure of co-operation, but the treaty increased the level of contact by an order of magnitude. The most important of which was the granting to the French of commercial concessions in the Ottoman Empire, as well as the so-called capitulations which also allowed French consuls legal jurisdiction over French subjects in Ottoman domains and recognized the French king as protector of the Christian holy places in Palestine, concessions that would have long-term effects on Ottoman relations with other foreign powers as well as internal development. Given that the Turkish fleet was barely holding itís own in the Mediterranean at this time, itís not surprising that an additional clause was included that each side would help the other, ďimprove itís naval capabilities so as to fight against our common foe.Ē This was little remarked upon at the time, and may have been merely idle words of no significance, were it not that Suleyman decided to launch his next major operation against Charles, not on land but on the waves.[1]

[1] The Italian Wars go very different in this TL, and Spain is weaker in the Mediterranean, having been whacked especially hard their by the virus, in addition to their being a stronger French fleet. In OTL the Turks suffered a defeat at this time in the Med, here they have held their own, barely.

The main reason for this was probably that their was already war in the Mediterranean and that it was the only available front on which he could actively hurt Charles. In Hungary the Reformation was beginning to take off, and that was a nice distraction, but Suleyman didnít regard Charles ďProtestant TroublesĒ as worthy as a direct attack. Sure he helped fund them, but he wanted to attack Charles in a glorious manner. And so, he chose the heartland of his enemy, Spain.

[2] Suleyman helps fund the Protestants more than he did in OTL, both because they are more successful, and therefore more of a threat to his enemies, and also because the difference in military power means heís more willing to try and hurt through non-military means.

It would not be an all out invasion attempt, but rather one of the largest and most intense raids in history. Khaireddin, who had evacuated thousands of Moors expelled from Spain, and was fresh from the capture of most of Tunisia (1534) would lead the expedition. [3]

[3] In OTL Red Beard ravaged southern Italy. Here that is not possible, and instead a more ambitious target was chosen. The Navy has done better vis a vis the army in this TL so there is more prestige there right now.

And a glorious expedition it was. On the coasts of Spain the name of Red Beard would still be used centuries later by mothers to scare their children. Town after town was sacked. Port after port plundered. But all good things must come to an end, and it was only thanks to the huge distances which the Spanish navy operated that Red Beard was able to raid so long. In time, Spain was able to pull together itís forces. After numerous fruitless hunts along the coast of Spain, Charles decided that it was time to hunt the rats in their lair. No more would Spain accept these insults to her honor. Red Beard would feel the wrath of his Catholic Majesty in his own home. Spain would capture Algeria.

It took a while to marshal enough forces but soon the armada set sail. Itís sails billowed in the wind, itís soldiers sharpened their cutlets, and the captain dreamed of glory in foreign lands. He had read a number of reports from the new American colonies, and was eager to apply those lessons in Algeria. Algeria had been Spanish not that long ago, and it was probably thanks to lax administration that the natives had allowed themselves to be conquered by Muslims. He would not make that mistake.

Of the many mistakes the Spanish officer made in his rule, a lax attitude was not one of them. The capture of Algeria would go down in Spanish history as a great victory, and payback for the crimes done against Spain. And what a bloody payback it was. With no mercy or pity the Spaniards destroyed all that the Turks had built, and put to the sword any who objected. The Mosques were burned, and blood flowed through the streets of any towns that objected. All who were not converted were killed or expelled within a year. Alas, North African colonies tended to be painfully expensive dead ends for the Iberian powers, and Algeria was no exception. Spain would spend much energy and many lives for Algeria, and receive pressius little in return. But, as the history books tell us, it was a glorious victory.

Red Beard had managed to escape the destruction of most of his fleet. On seeing the fires consume the city he had grew to love he wept in rage and frustration while swearing eternal vengeance on the heathens who had done this to him. His talk with Suleyman was blunt and frank, as was the custom of the Ottoman military of this time. When asked how he would describe the battle of Algerians, he is reputed to have said, ďMy report is as follows: Our navy was destroyed, our army was beaten, and our land and women are now under the knives of Frankish dogs.Ē

The blunt nature of the defeat was hurtful to Suleyman. He had had some minor victories, but by and large his reign seamed to be doomed to scrabbling to re-take lands that had been stolen from him. The nature of the defeat was troubling though, for he had lost a good portion of his ships. The Spaniards had paid in blood, but they had Algeria to show for it, while he had nothing. He asked his advisor how finances stood and was told, ďThe wealth of the kingdom is not as great as we would wish, but it is sufficient. If you majesty wished to build a fleet with silk sails and golden planks, it would prove difficult. But I am sure that an ordinary flotilla of wood and cloth should not prove overly stressful to the coffers.Ē

It was soon after this time that the French began doing better and better against the Spaniards. The casualties the Spanish had took in tacking Algeria had helped, but French ship design and training was also simply better than that of the Ottomans. The French, eager to insure that there new ally didnít give up the war after a lost battle, offered to help in the building of the new Ottoman fleet.

This was greeted with great shock in the Ottoman camp. The idea of Christians having something to teach Muslims was . . . wrong. It was just plain wrong. And yet . . . the Christian had defeated the Ottomans more time in the last decade than in all the previous centuries combined. It probably would have come to nothing if it had not come to the personal attention of Suleyman. It may have only been his own personal whim, or his anger at having to be the Sultan at a time when Christians won something, or a desire to try anything, or the urging of Red Beard who had fought Christian ships and knew what they could do. But when Suleyman gave the order, the order was followed, and an exchange program was set up to help the Ottomans rebuild their navy. A detachment of Frenchmen skilled in the arts of sea was sent to Constantinople and arrived with wide eyed amazement in a place where people were proud to call themselves slaves, with a government that gave more opportunities to ex-Christians than lifelong Moslems, where the highest officials were low born and where the army that championed Islam was led by men who were first baptized as Christians. Even more bizarrely were the Ottomans set to learn the ways of the Franks in a strange land called France. [4]

[4] This is a little out there, the old Ottoman pride thing was really big, but not impossible given the circumstances. I would argue that Suleymanís restructuring of the law code shows a degree of malleability and possibly a more technical bent than most rulers (I would argue that administration is a form of technology).

The exchange was the beginning of many big things, but the immediate result was that within a few years the Ottomans had a fleet that could challenged the Spanish in Algeria. The re-capture was swift when it came, but not final, for within a few years the Spanish launched another re-re-capture that was also successful. This state of affairs would continue on and off for another four decades. Algeria became a prestige item between the two rulers, and it seemed that anytime someone wasnít sure what to do to hurt the other, then someone would launch into a long passionate speech about how it was necessary to liberate Algeria from the heathens, and everyone would decide that would do, so the invasion would be launched. Sometimes it succeeded, sometimes it didnít. But the end result in the Mediterranean was for both sides to suffer a large drain of blood, ships, treasure, and men. In the end Suleyman held Algeria at the time of his death, only for his son to lose it to the Spanards six years later for the final and last time. For all the good it did them.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 7: Insert Persian Pun Here

In the European history books, Suleymanís war against his European foes always take prominence, but when one examines manpower and treasure spent this bias simply does not hold up to objective scrutiny. Suleyman regarded Persia as his worst enemy and the Shiite creed as a more dangerous heresy than Christianity. He ruthlessly suppressed Safavid agents in eastern Turkey and encouraged the Uzbek tribesmen of Central Asia to attack Persia from the east. Suleyman was willing to employ any means to harm his chief rival, Shah Tahmasp.

Shah Tahmasp was Persiaís longest reigning Shah and a cunning ruler who proved a worthy advisory. There was only so much he could do, but though Tahmasp did end up losing territory to Suleyman, he made him pay for every acre.

In 1534 Suleyman invaded Persia with a force 60,000 strong. It marched at will through the western end of the Persia, taking city after city, but Suleyman was unable to shake the loyalty of the people and ended up retiring after making only minor gains. Shah Tahmasp employed a scorched-earth policy that made the Ottoman supply lines long and precarious; as in Austria, the result was that Suleyman had to retire every time winter arrived.

The Ottomans managed to conquer Baghdad and Mesopotamia that year, but failed to take Trabriz. This failure put them on the defensive for the next four years as the Persians tried to retake their lost provinces. They did not succeed, but came close a number of times. The Persians greatest victory during this period was when they took Erzerum from the Ottomans in 1536. The Ottomans were severely distracted by the Persian War, and this explains much of the Ottoman actions in Europe during the 1530ís. [1]

A peace agreement was arranged in 1540 that turned the eastern front from an area of intense all out warfare to one of simmering raids and small scale bloodshed. Guerilla warfare never ceased for more than a few months at a time, and the relations between the two empires were persistently hostile.

Suleyman had hoped that the peace with the Shah would free up his forces for the west, but at no time during the 1540ís was the border ever safe enough that the Sultan thought he could withdraw all of his forces to throw against his enemies in the west.

However, though it was costly the victory was still regarded as a great triumph in Constantinople. The new lands provided a great new source of manpower and money. Even if they did require heavy defensives, they were still a net benefit to the empire. The total annexation of these lands was a joy after the inconclusive struggle in Europe. Strategically, they gave the Ottomans an outlet to the Persian Gulf (where they were soon engaged in a naval war with the Portuguese) as well as giving them control of the Basra-Baghdad-Aleppo silk road, the second most important trade route between India and the Middle East.

While the border simmered in the 1540ís, there were two deadly hidden perils. One was the growing nature of the Persian-Spanish-Portugese Alliance, but the other could not be seen by any human of the time. It was merely sitting and waiting until conditions were right. Which they were in 1548.

The second outbreak of the Tloggotl virus swept across the Middle East in an even wider arc than the first time. Twenty-seven years ago it had burned out before it had reached Persia, but not now. This time it swept through Persia as well, leaving millions dead and maimed in itís wake. It even reached as far as India, where it caused great distress to the Mogul dynasty. [2]

Even as Suleyman wept over those close to him who died in the second outbreak, it is recorded that he took some joy that the eastern heretics were not spared this time. The Ottomans suffered badly from this second outbreak, but the Persiaís suffered worse, for they had never experienced it before. As he put it in a famous poem of his;

The first time you struck me,

You killed my people and I could do nothing,

Now you have come again.

Those so close to me were not spared,

For the second time you have struck my land,

But at least you did not spare the heathens once more,

That I could not have bared.

There is some evidence that Suleyman was planning to invade Persia in 1548, but was delayed due to the outbreak of the plague. If this was so, it was only a delay, for Suleyman launched an invasion of Persia in 1550. It proved to be a momentous decision, and there is a good deal of evidence that Suleyman had no idea that he was thus setting off the largest war that the world had ever seen.

For the invasion of Persia was regarded by the Holy Roman Empire as yet another perfect excuse to try and take Algeria, and incidentally support their alley Persia. The French (and their Italian puppets) also lived up to their treaty agreements (for their own reasons of course) and declared war on Portugal, Spain, and Persia. It was not the World War of later centuries (Asia was touched very little), but it did encompass the largest area of the globe than any war before it.

The Persian Front required a lot of the Ottoman attention and resources during the Ten Years War. They managed to take and hold Tabriz in 1550, but the Persian counter-offensive was large and intense. The Persian influence on the sea battle was negligible, and the Ottoman navy was free to drive them and their allies out of the Red Sea. Indeed, on several occasions Ottoman activity caused the collapse of the Portuguese spice market. For the next ten year the war in the East continued at an intense level, but ultimately it ended with Tabriz and Baghdad under Ottoman rule. The Persians had been defeated, and formal recognition was given at the Peace of Amasya in 1560, which ended the Ten Years War.

The price paid for this victory was heavy, and Suleyman would not invade Persia again for the rest of his life. He was happy with the treaty, but his biggest mistake may have been in not granting Shiite pilgrims permission to visit Mecca, Medina, and the holy places in Iraq. While undoubtedly popular with the clerics in the Ottoman Empire, this caused a long running soar between the two countries that simmered long after Persia had forgotten it had ever wanted to rule Erzerum or Trabriz. [3]

But the war was remembered well in Constantinople, for if nothing else at the end of his life Suleyman had brought all of the great cities of Islam--Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, and Baghdad-under the Sultan's crescent flag.

[1] In OTL the Ottoman army that invaded Persia in 1534 was 90,000 strong. The Ottoman Empireís weakened state is becoming more and more obvious. As a result, while it still achieves victory in Mesopotamia, itís not as desisive and the Persians were encouraged to contest it more than OTL when from 1535 to 1548 the Persian border was not in a state of all out war. Here it is. Also, in OTL the Persians did not manage to take Erzerum until 1855.

[2] I figured that about 26 years was a good time for the second outbreak of the virus. Virology is a tricky thing, so this guess is really as good as any. Also, the bug is a little better adapted to the old world now, and that combined with more Ottoman shipping is why it reached India.

[3] In OTL, Suleyman did grant the right of visting the Holy Sites to the Shiites. This time though, he is more bitter at them due to the more prolonged and intense fighting of this TL. Also, at the end of the war the Ottomans are slightly stronger than they were at the OTL 1555 peace treaty. Five years can make a big difference in the local situation. All in all the border between Persia and the Ottomans came to be pretty similar to OTL. The Ottoman weakness was made up with further effort (and decreased resources for other fronts). More importantly when the virus hit the Persians, they were weakened considerably.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 8: Pun, pun, whatís a good pun?

A man is not made by strategy alone, and the Sultanís personal life was large and full during this period. The 1830ís and 1840ís saw Mustafa, the sultan's firstborn son and likely heir, grow from a boy to a man. He was beginning to take more and more responsibilities, and the Sultan began to think higher of him as he grew in years. It was obvious to all the court that he was being groomed to take over when Suleyman went the way of all flesh. In the late 1840ís he was sent to govern Egypt, and by all reports he had been doing an admirable job there. There was even talk that the Sultan was going to commit infanticide to insure that his other heirs didnít challenge Mustafa. [1]

Such talk sent shivers down the spine of the Sultanís other main personal interest at this time. The Sultan had found a new love in his life. Her name was Joanna, and like all of the Sultanís lovers, she was his slave. She was originally from the Netherlands, but had been captured as a young girl and transported to the Ottoman Empire in a tale that belongs more in a romance novel than in the history books. She had a laughing attitude, despite her circumstances, that captivated the Sultan and helped him forget his responsibilities. Behind the laughing smile was a keen mind though, and after she gave birth to the Sultanís child in 1530, she was more desperate than ever to gain the Sultanís favor and insure that her son was not put to death. She wanted Jafar to have a chance at life and, of course, insure that she would have someone to support her in her old age. Being a woman, she could not get power for herself, but many a woman had worked through her son. She prayed to her God that her son Jafar would have a future. [2]

Suleyman also accomplished many of the feats that would earn him his proudest title, that of _kanuni_ (lawgiver). For more than his conquests, Suleyman was considered wise for the internal improvements he made in the Ottoman Empire. From the Church, to the educational and legal system, to the executive and military system, there was not one area of rule that he did not try to improve. He brought the old legal codes up-to-date by specifying, codifying, and simplifying the confused system of custom and practice. He revised the condition of Christian subjects by regulating their taxes. He imposed more lenient laws for crimes based on fines (instead of bodily punishment). There was regulation of markets and guilds, prices and wages, and trade. His experience with rebellion also convinced him to make sure that the laws were actually enforced throughout the empire. More and more power was being centralizing in Constantinople.

The 1530ís and 1540ís were also a time of great interaction between the Ottomans and Europe, on a number of levels. The Franco-Alliance grew deeper throughout all of this period, and the naval modernization of the Ottoman fleet was near complete. The French guest workers, had changed a number of features in Ottoman shipbuilding, as well as the command structure of the Navy. The Naval Officers who had spent time in France returned with interesting tales. By and large they were entirely dismissive of French culture, art, food, religion, and especially the way they treated their women, but they did admit that those Franks did have something to their naval program. They told how the Empire had to modernize its navy if it wanted to take back Algeria. Among the navy it becomes something of a mark of distinction to have served with France. Not the least of which because it showed you were a _Corsor_ (slang among the Ottoman Navy roughly translatable in English to ďtough hombreĒ) and that you could deal with a bunch of heathen barbarians.

That could prove useful, as Ottoman ships were beginning to trade with places further and further away. After the entire east coast of the Red Sea (Yemen, Aden) was taken over, a Turkish naval expedition through the Red Sea to the northwest coast of India paved the way for a number of valuable trading expeditions. [3]

The exchange was not a one way either, by any means. The French studying in Constantinople were amazed and took back many useful ideas and experiences to France. Perhaps the most visible influence today is the Otto-Franco style of architecture common in those surviving French buildings of the period. The Great French Architect [FIND NAME] had been in Constantinople during the Great Fire of 1540, and worked with several prominent Ottoman architects during the re-building phase. He took the skills and styles he learned back to Paris and the fusion style he introduced proved very popular. Perhaps the most famous building of this style is Montolay Palace, near Paris. [Insert description of Franco-Ottoman fusion architecture if you can. Such a thing is beyond my abilities. If you canít do it, no big deal.]

But as before, the chief interaction with Europe was through war, which was intermittent and practically unceasing through this period.

The Holy League - Venice War of 1537 was not a war between the Holy League and Venice, but rather a war by Venice and the Holy Roman Empire against Suleyman. On the whole, it was a mixed affair for the Ottomans, for while Venice lost Nauplion, lost their last foothold on the Greek mainland, and also had to pay a large indemnity, Algeria was in Spanish hands when peace was signed two years after the start of the war. [4]

That peace (like most at this time) proved short lived and was broke in 1540 by that constant sore spot, Hungary. Zapolya, the Ottoman puppet of the southern third of Hungary, died on the 18th of July 1540, whereupon the estates of Hungary elected his baby son John Sigismund king. The treaty that divided the country was murky enough that Ferdinand claimed that he should now get all of Hungary, although most historians agree that the treaty provided for no such thing. [5]

Ferdinand asserted his rights by force of arms, and attacked southern Hungary on May 1541. His fears were instantly justified. In August 1541, Suleyman, at the head of a vast army, invaded Hungary, and on the 30th of August. Suleyman was unable to take Buda, although he did increase his lands somewhat, but one of the wars more important effects was that it resulted in direct Turkish administrative and control of southern Hungary. Suleyman was more and more inclined to only accept complete Ottoman control of a province. Too many indirectly ruled lands had proved troublesome for him.

This was all happening during a time when the Ottoman-Persian border was simmering under a truce, so Suleyman put far more of his forces into fighting the Holy Roman Empire than he could had before (but not as much as heíd like). Unfortunately for Suleyman, it was also a time when the Holy Roman Empire was free from conventional struggle. I say conventional struggle, for while the Holy Roman Empire was not fighting France at this time, it was battling against an enemy it considered to be just as dangerous, the Reformation.

Ottoman pressure on the Habsburgs between 1521 and 1560 was one of the most important factors in the consolidation of the forces of the Reformation. Suleyman supported and encouraged the Protestants to a very large degree. Like the French alliance, it was one of the chief ways Suleyman thought he could weaken the Habsburgs. The Reformation was allowed to develop freely among Christians in the Ottoman Empire, and Suleyman offered military help and aid to Lutheran princes. One particularly beneficial deal was when he opened the markets of the Ottoman Empire to the Dutch, thereby contributing in large part to their mercantile development, as well as importing a number of useful things into the empire. The Ottomans also took in a fair number of religious refugees, and Suleyman had no regard for some of the intolerant attitude of his enemies. When an advisor commented on the wisdom of Spain's King Ferdinand, the sultan replied, "What! Call ye this Ferdinand wise who depopulates his own domains to enrich mine?"

The war in the Mediterranean was a success, and resulted in the Ottomans holding Algeria when peace was signed in 1545. In addition Northern Hungary had to pay a large annual tribute. The Ottomans knew the Holy Roman Empire would stab it in the back and try to retake its lost lands the first chance it got, so they fortified their vulerable lands as best they could. Suleyman had finally been convinced that logisticall difficulties would make it impossible to take Buda, no matter how hard he tried. Fine. Let the border exist where it was, and let Ferdinand pay him tribute. But what he had, he would hold. Algeria and southern Hungary would becomefortified lands, ready to repel any attack. A series of great castles and a great ships would protect them for all time.

These were just beginning to be built in inerest when the Tloggotl virus hit Europe and the Middle East for the second time.

[1] In OTL Suleymanís wife, Roxelana, convinced him that Mustafa was plotting treason (a baseless charge) and Suleyman had him strangled in 1553. This resulted in "Selim the Sot," a dissolute drunkard, becoming Sultan after 1566. Here, Roxelana is not his wife and that never happens. Also, in OTL the Ottoman Empire didnít directly rule Egypt. BIG changes for Egypt there.

[2] Joanna and Jafar are of course wholly fictional, but not unrealistically so imo. Or at least no more unrealistic than Roxxana of OTL. The Sultans did seem to have a thing for fair skinned slaves.

[3] The Ottoman Navy has been getting help from the French for a generation by the time 1850 rolls around. I think that is sufficient enough time for them to get caught up if the Sultan was behind it, which Suleyman is because of various strategic situations that are different than OTL. That modernization would also leak over to the Ottoman Merchant marine as well. The Ottomans are never going to be a naval trading nation like England or the Netherlands, but increased trade with India is a definite possibility IMO.

[4] In OTL Venice held onto their footholds on Greece for a while longer. But the improved Ottoman Navy is beginning to influence things.

[5] In OTL, the treaty did EXPLICITLY state this, but the different force

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 9: Calling the Shots

1548 saw the return of Suleymanís most deadly enemy, the Tloggotl virus. For while the Spanish might take Algeria if they were lucky, or with extreme tenacity the Persians could stop his advance, none of them could hurt his homeland like Tloggotl could.

At least the virus did not take him unaware. He had heard of it sweeping through the Mediterranean, and hoped that it would pass him by. It did not, and instead struck just as devastating a blow as it had a generation ago. Suleyman was no longer a young man, he was a seasoned ruler who had experienced much death and destruction in his land, so while the reports of people melting in the street still touched his heart, they seemed further away than they had the first time he had heard them. He could recall as a young man the heartache and dread it had brought him, but now he found himself feeling as if he were somehow observing it from a great distance. Sad, but merely something that would have to be endured.

That was, until it struck him personally. Mustafa, his favored son, was serving as the administrator of Egypt. He was doing a commendable job, until pus began to drip out of his skin. Due to itís environment, itís density, and itís excellent transportation network, Egypt was a feast for the virus, and it flourished there with a vengeance.

Mustafa first started to notice something wrong when he began coughing uncontrollably. As the days progressed his condition quickly grew worse and his skin began to rupture and ooze. In the end he begged for death, but none dared risk the Sultanís wrath by killing his favored heir.

This death, the death of his beloved son, touched Suleymanís heart in a way that the millions of others could not. He mourned for weeks, and not even the charms of his beloved Joanna could console him. He pored his heart out in new verse:

My pain for thee in my sight sets forth

A memory of thy face by the clear moonlight.

Thy black hair spread across thy cheeks,

The smile and the laugh and the iron in your eye.

Now thy mouth, a casket full of pus,

Thy teeth, rotten and fallen from gums.

Thy screams, ever louder and more mad,

Thy face, a jinnís mask of horror,

It is too much.

I turns and try to hide.

But I can not.

Thy face follows.

He is also said to have shouted his older poem at various courtiers at this time as well.


I see the death all around my city,

My home under siege by an enemy I canít fight or see,

It kills, it maims, it blinds,

It cares not for good, not for evil,

Not for the believer, not for the heathen,

Just for blood,

I see my friends face melt around him,

I see the life leave his eyes,

I see a strong Army liquefy,

I see hopes fail and dreams die,

And I can do nothing.



He was Godís chosen Emperor of all of the earth, and yet a plague had taken his successor from him. He had to find a way to conquer this enemy.

He began asking his advisors how one conquered plague. The answers they gave him were unacceptable. Plague was unstoppable. One simply had to bear it. There was nothing one could do. Suleyman didnít believe them. He was Sultan of the Earth. He would find something to do.

It was during a meeting with one of his naval officers that a powerful idea was raised. This officer had heard of the Sultanís desire for some way to combat the plague. He too had lost a son, only his was in the first outbreak a generation ago. While in France he had brought up the topic with some of the Empireís French vasa . . . allies, and they had mention how there was this one place that had managed to miss the plague, TWICE. Venice used a strict _quarantino_ (the naval officer pronounced the foreign word very slowly and deliberately) program, and some thought that it was thanks to this that Venice hadnít suffered as Constantinople had. The Empire had benefited from Franceís naval knowledge, so perhaps their was something to learn in Venice?

The idea that the Christians would again have something to teach the empire was still disquieting to Suleyman. That wasnít how things worked. And yet . . . this was a Christian disease. Perhaps it was appropriate to take a Christian cure for a Christian disease. It may have just been anger over loosing his son, or desperation to stop the disease that had twice literally devastated his land, but when Suleyman frowned and said, this shall be done, it was done. [1]

Thus the Ottoman Department of Disease Control And Elimination was created. The Empire could move quickly at creating new bureaucracies when the Sultanís mind was set on it, and this was one of those times. A group of doctors was sent to Venice, and a few other cities that had handled the plague well, to learn of the measures that the city had implemented. In addition, some doctors from those cites were hired to come to Constantinople (money talks, even between former enemies). A great deal was learned, and an administrative structure to quarantine areas of the empire quickly came in to being. The exchange of medical knowledge with Vienna was canceled for a while after the outbreak of the war, but a great deal had been learned before that, but it continued with others cities. More importantly a system of medical exchange was created which would have far reaching consequences for Ottoman intellectual life. It would take a long time for that seed to grow, but at least it had been planted.

[1] In OTL the Ottomans _DID_ copy a European medical treatment for a disease, but only because that disease, syphilis, was thought to be European. Hence it was permissible to copy their treatment of it. A similar logic works in regards to the Melting, but on a larger scale representing the greater damage wrought by the virus. Also, the naval exchange with France is beginning to have (small) knock off effects, and the Naval officers recommendation is meant to show that.

Brave New World: Suleyman The Fierce: Part 10. Give me Hope Joanna.

For now Suleyman grieved and mourned over his favored sonís death by the plague. He was greatly consoled during this time by Joanna. She was a shrewd slave, and began to psychologically plant her roots deeper and deeper into the Sultan. She was here for him. She understood him. No, it wasnít fair. Everyone in Egypt should have protected Mustafa better. They were so stupid. The creation of the Disease Control department was a brilliant move on his part. Oh, yes that was true. But now let Joanna console you. Let her take care of you. Let her look after you. Let her pleasure you. Let her be the most important person in your life.

It was at this time that Joanna first gently and delicately pushed the idea of marriage. It was unthinkable though. A Sultan could not marry a slave. He loved her dearly, but marriage was simply out of the question. Joanna sulked at this, but not too long and soon Suleyman was enjoying himself with her and she was her old bubbly self.

But she never lost that gleam in her eye, for she knew what she had to do. Suleyman was probably planning to kill all but one of his heirs, just like his good old dad. She had to make sure that it was her boy who he chose. If it wasnít . . . her future would not be a very bright one. Who would he choose?

Suleyman didnít know. He often thought about this momentous decision. He seemed to be putting it off for as long as possible, because he still wasnít sure who he would choose. There were really only four main choices.

Jafar. A good lad from Joanna. But he was always a little odd. Spent too much of his time dreaming of the sea. What a strange hobby for the son of a Sultan. Suleyman recognized the importance of the sea, but he didnít romanticize it in the way that Jafar did. Still the boy . . . man these days really . . . could usually bring a smile to his face. Just like his mother.

Baize. A drunken sot. He fell into his harem years ago, and as far as Suleyman could tell he had never came out. God would need to save the empire on a daily basis if Baize ever became Sultan.

Selim. A decent enough son. Respectful. Honorable. But there was little there on his own. It was if he were a blank page and wrote on himself with whoever was in the room. Still, he understood people and that was useful in a ruler.

Jehangir. A Military fiend. He loved war. Glorified in it. Loved the smell of battle, and the sight of blood flowing through the streets. But did he know when to stop? There was a time for war and a time for peace. As sultan, Suleyman had learned how far he could push his armies. He had a feeling than Jehangir would never know his limit, and bankrupt the country so that he could enjoy one more battle. [1]

Ultimately, this would probably be the most important choice of Suleymanís career. He had to chose before he died. Didnít he?

[1] All of the above are fictional. Their names are similar to some of the heirs of Suleyman in OTL, but they are not the same person at all. Different genetics, and different personality. IE, in OTL Selim was the drunken one, not Baize. Their inclusion is meant to show that this TL is moving further and further from ours and I am of the opinion not to include OTL historical figures once the changes grow too large. They are also meant to show the tremendous difference that individual personality could bring about when great power is weilded by a hereditary monarchy. Imagine if the family Christmas Party was a major factor in deciding who is going to be President or Prime Minister. The future of this TL will be radically changed based on rather small events.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 11: Ships, and Sails, and Heathen Tales.

The Ten Years War was a mixed affair for the Ottoman Empire, just like it was for every other power that flung itself into that caldron of fire and shot. Sometimes it is best to examine huge events through a personal scale, because ultimately that is where they occurred; millions of separate times. By looking through one personís eyes we can see things more clearly. For example, through the experience of Suleymanís son, Jafar.

Jafar lived an interesting life, even for the son of a Sultan. He had been coming of age at just the time when the French began to help modernize the Ottoman Navy. Who can say why something strikes a childís interests, but the navy struck Jafarís. Perhaps it was because his mother was from so far away, and told him stories of her travel in the great ships, perhaps it was because he was swept up in the excitement of the first great raids by Barbarosa along the Spanish coast, and then crushed when the Ottoman navy lost Algeria to Spain. Whatever the reason, Jafar remained enamored with the navy and the oceans until the end of his days.

When he became a man, he requested the Sultan to put him in a position of influence in the navy. It was not uncommon for Suleyman to make his children military or governmental commanders, but it came as a bit of shock none the less. Being in the navy would probably involve some contact with the Franks, as well as possibly taking him to place where the Ottoman Empire might not hold absolute sway. Would he be able to handle that? More important, would it be safe to have an heir, even if he was a few places down the line, to the throne be that far out of his grasp?

This may have been a reason why Joanna, Jafarís mother from the Netherlands, begged and pleaded and used her whiles to convince him to allow her son to go. She knew that Suleyman was becoming more and more inclined towards having all his heirs killed saved one, and if that happened it would be safest if her sons were far away. She might be able to get word to them to flee before the Sultanís command reached them.

In the end, the Sultan gave way. He was confident that his agents could take care of Jafar if the need arose. Plus, the Navy was becoming a stronger power in the court, and it wouldnít hurt to have one of his heirs involved so they could keep an eye on it.

In this, Jafar performed admirably. He took an interest in almost everything the navy did, and he learned a great deal. One of the most fascinating things for him was his dealing with the French guest workers. Fiercely proud of his position as a son of the Ottoman Sultan, Jafar was also very close to his mother, and was fascinated by the tales she told him of her life in darkest Europe. It was very interesting for him to compare these stories with the craftsmenís own version. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like to explore those strange barbaric lands. [1]

When the war came he got his chance, but not in a way that anyone could have predicted. He was stationed in Algeria, the most heavily fortified Ottoman base in the Mediterranean. Algeria had traded hands intermediately between Spain and the Ottomans over the last generation, and Suleyman was determined that it would remain in Ottoman hands the next time war came. The naval fortress he was building was impressive, but the new ships he had built proved to be more important. It was his goal that after the Spaniards beat their fists bloody against the Rock of Africa, as the fortress was being called even before itís completion, his fleet would be in position to sweep the Spaniards from the Med.

Things did not go as planned. The second outbreak of the Tloggotl virus wreaked havoc on the Empireís finances, both for the loss of people and for the chaos it brought. As a result, when war came the fortress was not yet finished, nor was the fleet completely ready.

It was a feirce battle as Jafar explained, ďI immediately ordered the canopy to be taken down, the anchor weighed, the guns put in readiness, and then, trusting to the help of the Almighty, we fastened the lilandra to the mainmast, the flags were unfurled, and, full of courage and calling upon Allah, we commenced to fight. Boats and galleons obscured the horizon with their mizzen sails and Peneta all set; the guard-ships spread their round sails and, gay with bunting, they advanced toward us. Full of confidence in God's protection we awaited them. Their boats attacked our galleys; the battle raged, cannon and guns, arrows and swords made terrible slaughter on both sides. The canon penetrated the boats and the guns and tore large holes in their hulls, while our galleys were riddled through by the cannonballs thrown down upon us from the enemy's turrets, which gave them the appearance of bristling porcupines; and they showered down upon us....The stones which they threw at us created quite a whirlpool as they fell into the sea. One of our galleys was set on fire by a bomb, but strange to say the boat from which it issued shared the like fate. God is merciful! Five of our galleys and as many of the enemy's boats were sunk and utterly wrecked, one of theirs went to the bottom with all sails set. In a word, there was great loss on both sides; our rowers were now insufficient in number to manage the oars, while running against the current, and to fire the cannon. We were compelled to drop anchor (at the stern) and to continue to fight as best we might. Some boats had also to be abandoned. The volley from the guns and cannon was tremendous, and with God's help we sank and utterly destroyed one of the enemy's galleons. Never before within the annals of history has such a battle been fought, and words fail me to describe it. The battle continued till sunset, and only then the Admiral of the infidel fleet began to show some signs of fear. He ordered the signal-gun to fire a retreat, and the fleet turned in the direction of Tunsia. With the help of Allah, and under the lucky star of the Padishah, the enemies of Islam had been defeated. But that was not enough. We would follow them and strike them in their lair.Ē

Jafar knew that the other heirs would be sowing seeds of discord against him, and that merely holding his own would not be enough. He would have to win a great victory. Nothing else would be acceptable. It had been his dream to make the Mediterranean an Ottoman lake, and thereby (hopefully) gain the Sultanís favor. For now that Mustafa (the Sultanís favored son) was dead, it was now an open game. Whichever one of Suleymanís heirs proved himself the most worthy, would gain the greatest prize in the world, the title of Sultan and just as importantly, he would also keep his life.

With that incredibly prod at his mind, Jafar set sail against the retreating Spaniards. As Jafarís ships sailed through the calm Mediterranean waters, he was grateful that his ships were keeping pace. Often the Spaniards proved particularly adept at speed, but that night they were not doing nearly so well as they usually did. When they neared their base, Jafar found out why.

He had been tricked. One of the Spanish ships had sailed ahead to itís base at Mahdia, Tunisia. There, a second fleet was being prepared for a different campaign. But sensing a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of a defeat the Spanish Admiral had hoped he could lure the confident Ottomans into a trap. His hope was fulfilled.

When Jafar saw the approaching enemy fleet, he had to make a quick decision that was as old as war itself, fight or flight? To flee would be disgraceful, while to fight could result in a tremendous victory. For the status conscience Jafar that was the end of the argument.

The Battle of Mahdia is rightly regarded as a classic of naval warfare. It began, in accord with naval practices of time, when Jafar fired a piece of artillery as a challenge to fight, and his opponent answered by firing two cannons to signify that he was ready to give battle. A large green silk banner, decorated with the Moslem crescent as well as holy inscriptions in Arabic, was hoisted on the Turkish flagship. The setting was complete. The cross and the crescent fluttered aloft, symbolizing the two religions and the two hostile civilizations of Christendom and Islam, were about to meet in another decisive battle of their long and bitter holy war.

[1] OK, this would be a little unusual, but unusual things interest Princes sometimes. While this may be improbable, I donít think it is implausible.

Feel free to change the name of the ship and add a name for the French painter if you feel the urge.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 12: A Franc Exchange

The Battle of Mahdia proved to be a tactical victory for the Spaniards, but a strategic draw. Neither side gained control of the sea lanes, but while Charlesí forces lost between seven and eight thousand dead (and about twice that number wounded), the Ottomanís suffered over double that. For the Spaniards, this was a god-send, as it had evened out the naval ratio in the Mediterranean, effectively negating their losses at trying to take Algeria. The Battle of Mahdia would live in Spanish memory for a long time. [1]

But for Jafar most of the battle was a blur. His ship, _The Heaven Born Houri_, had been separated from the main Ottoman battle line at a critical juncture of the battle. Cut off, his ship came under increasing fire. Jafar was reluctant to disengage, and his ship took far more damage than was wise. Finally, when not even he could deny the risk any longer, his ship disengaged and fled. He cursed himself over his hubris, and was heard to mutter the arabic saying, ďMan proposes, God disposes,Ē a couple of times over the next few days.

For Jafar was in a bad position. It was only luck that the Spanish were too busy with the rest of the fleet to finish off that straggler, but this good luck was compensated by bad. The battle had happened near dusk, and as night descended, Jafarís vessel was unaware of where his fleet was. Blocked off by the Spanish fleet, it sailed in the only direction it could go and then as Jafar wrote, ď. . . when suddenly from the west arose a great storm. We were driven back, but were unable to set the sails, not even the stormsail. The tempest raged with increasing fury, and in our battered state even the Medeteranian storm was too much for us. Night and day were both alike, and because of the frailty of our craft all ballast had to be thrown overboard. In this frightful predicament our only consolation was our unwavering trust in the power of the Almighty. I did all I could to encourage and cheer my companions, and advised them above all things to be brave, and never to doubt but that all would end well. A welcome diversion occurred in the appearance of a fish about the size of two galley lengths, or more perhaps, which the pilot declared to be a good omen. Meanwhile, the wind had risen again, and as the men had no control over the rudder, large handles had to be affixed with long double ropes fastened to them. Each rope was taken hold of by four men, and so with great exertion they managed to control the rudder. No one could keep on his feet on deck, so of course it was impossible to walk across. The noise was deafening; we could not hear our own voices. The only means of communication with the sailors was by inarticulate words, and neither captain nor boatswain could for a single instant leave his post. The ammunition was secured in the storeroom, and we continued our way. We took frequent soundings, and when we struck a depth of five arm-lengths the Orta Yelken were set, and flying the commander's flag, we drifted about all night and all day until at last, in God's mercy, the water rose, the storm somewhat abated, and the ship veered right round. The next morning we slackened speed and drew in the sails. Taking a survey of our surroundings we caught sight of a heathen-temple. The sails were drawn in a little more; and directing our course toward the harbor, we entered.Ē

As luck would have it Jafar came across of French vessel. Communication was a problem, as none of the French spoke Turkish or Arabic, and none of the Turks spoke French, but after much trial and tribulations the Ottomans convinced the French vessel to transport Jafar and his remaining crew to France. They tried to get transportation back to the Ottoman Empire, but communication was exceedingly difficult and the French captain could not be convinced to do this. Itís possible that he couldnít understand that this Turk was the son of the Sultan, or that if he did understand, he just didnít believe it.

Whatever the case, Jafar became the first direct descendant of the Sultan to visit Western Europe. [2] Soon the language barrier was solved, but that did not make everything neat and simple. Anyone could _claim_ to be the son of the Sultan, but how did France know that he really _was_? An enquiry was sent and the French discovered that the Sultan really was missing a son that had been lost at sea, and a high ranking Ottoman naval attachť was brought in who recognized Jafar, and immediately began sputtering and asking why he was here in France.

After this they were finally convinced, and the French went overboard in trying to impress Jafar. Every effort was made to accommodate his whim and to show him the wonders of France. By and large he was not impressed. He was in a bad temper from losing his ship, and was only marginally consoled in learning that his fleet had retreated in good order to Algeria where it had held the line. Jafar just wanted to go home and get to work on his next campaign, not hang around in some villa. The French begged his forgiven and explained that they needed time to assemble a proper escort. After all, there was the Spanish threat and how would it look if France lost the heir of the Sultan?

This did not console him, but their offer for him to examine the _Victorious_ their most modern warship, did. Instantly his mood changed, and Jafar was over it like a spry monkey. He climbed into the gallery, up the rigging, and, through an interpreter, relentlessly interviewed all of the crew. The demonstrations they performed for him pleased him to no end, and he wrote enthusiastically how all the Ottoman ships could stand to take a lesson from this crew. Jafar may have been a little too impressed with Franceís naval capabilities, for after all this _was_ their best ship with their best crew. But that is undoubtedly why they was showed it to him.

It was after a particularly fascinating demonstration that Jafar met Francis I, and this was undoubtedly a factor in the warm description that reports give of the meeting. The two were quite a contrast, the aged and ailing Francis I who had steered his country though a number of turbulent decades, and the young and eager Jafar whoís only position of power had been running a naval station. Francis was eager to solidify the alliance and insure that no separate peace was made with the Spanish. In this Jafar must have been a welcome relief for him, as he was full of nothing but oaths against the Spanish dogs and how he would wipe them from all the waters of the earths. Jafar also politely asked if once he was aboard the _Victorious_ and sailing for Algeria, if he would become itís captain, as custom demanded?

Custom demanded no such thing as far as Francis knew, but knowing when to smile and nod was a valuable trait for a King and so of course it would be so. Jafarís famous smile upon hearing this is excellently captured by the painting done of the meeting that even today hangs in the Louve. The rest of the meeting was taken up by promises and pledges of good fellowship, but for Jafar the most important pledge had already been given.

By all accounts Jafar enjoyed himself immensely as Captain of the _Victorious_, and even more importantly he handled her well. He quickly got used to the new design and to giving orders through an interpreter, and again he was amazed by some of the features on the ships. He knew that the Ottomans simply didnít have anything that could handle this well and sail so far. They had made strides over the last generation, but while on this ship he couldnít deny that the Franks were ahead of his empire in naval technology. The Ottomans were ahead in everything else, of course, but not this. For a naval man like Jafar, that one thing was enough. He would have to write to his father.

He arrived in Algeria safe and sound with only a minor skirmish against the Spaniards. With a sigh Jafar gave up command of the ship and returned to being naval commander of Algeria. When he left the ship he was accompanied by some additional companions, French shipbuilders. He had convinced Francis of the importance of loaning them to his allies, and even though it was wartime and France needed every shipbuilder she had, Francis decided that keeping the heir to the throne was important enough to lone a few more of his skilled artists to Ottomans. They were sent to the east where they began construction on a new type of vessel for the Ottomans. Jafar would always remember the time when he had commanded a French ship, and how in this area at least, his empire had something to learn. In writing the Sultan he quoted the Koran, ďSeek knowledge even if you have to go to China.Ē The Franks were a lot closer than China, and if they could help the Empire, then by all means the Empire should get that help. [3]

[1] This is based on the OTL battle of Leipzig? [big Spanish-ottoman battle, look it up], that happened a few decades later in OTL. Only here the Ottomans do a lot better with their improved ship designs, but they do lose as they are still behind the Spanish.

[2] Eastern Europe was a different matter. Suleyman had been in Hungary a number of times, and one of his other sons was itís current Military Administrator, both in OTL and this ATL.

[3] Jafarís adventures in darkest Europe are out there, but this was a pretty wild age. You read some of the Captainís reports of the era, and things like this did happen. There were mix ups and confusions and wild adventures that belonged in pulp fiction, only they actually happened. The Ottomans experienced some of this as well. The book of the Turkish Admiral Sidi Ali Reis, entitled "Mirat ul Memalik" (the Mirror of Countries), is in many ways just as interesting and adventure filled as any European counterpart, as well as being a big source of Jafarís adventures with some quotes here and there changed to fit his situations.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 13: Kenya Tell Me About Africa?

The next few years passed well for Jafar. The Mediterranean wasnít an Ottoman lake, but it was a Spanish one either, and that was all that was expected of him. When Francis I died, Jafar sent condolences from both himself and the Ottoman Empire. Strategically more importantly, he swore that co-operation in the Mediterranean would continued, and as an act of good faith the Ottomans even occupied Corsica for France in 1553. [1]

As the war years passed Jafar became steadier in his rule and administration. He was learning the ways of power, and learning them well. At times his mother wrote him and told how she was worried that his brothers were gaining too much prestige on the field of battle, but this was an exaggeration as no decisive victory had yet to be gained.

But Jafar still felt that he needed some triumph. His victories in the Mediterranean had been the victories of holding the line, and that just was not as dramatic as victories that advanced the boundary of the empire. Reluctantly he concluded that the equilibrium in the Mediterranean could not be broke with the forces at hand. So he looked to the east for an opportunity.

It came late in the war, when the Ottomans had already recaptured Oman and Aden, which Portugal had taken in the first year of the war. That loss had been a bitter blow, as it interrupted the burgeoning trade with India. Suleyman was furious at this loss, and began to take his eastern waters more seriously. After the Mediterranean was reasonably secure he began transferring some of his most experienced sailors, including Jafar, to the Red Sea where new ships of the most modern design (built with the help of French workers) were waiting for them. Suleyman only wished there was some way that he could transfer the ships between the oceans as well, and when an engineer heard this and replied that it was possible, it set off a chain of events that would dramatically alter the strategic situation in the east for the next 400 years.

But that was in the future. For now the new ships had to be built there, but when they were completed and crewed they wracked havoc among the Portuguese, blowing ship after ship from the water and sending the sons of Portugal to a watery grave. Omen fell, and then Aden. This news was greeted joyously in Constantinople, but was also regarded as only a prelude.

For the Sultan did not desire to merely re-take what he had owned. He would strike back at the Portuguese in East at a spot that would insure that his domains would remain his. He would take Diu, one of Portugalís most important bases in India. Diu beckoned like a shiny jewel. If he could capture that, his lands would be safe for a long time.

Or so Jafar argued. It would not be easy though. His ships would have to operate at the end of a dishearteningly long supply line from the Red Sea. Turkish authority in places like Yemen and Oman, was still nominal at best, even though Suleyman was trying to centralize his empire as fast as he could. In addition, his men had only recently completed building some ships of the Christian designs that were capable of blue-water travel. [2] They were the pride of the Ottoman Eastern Navy, but the grunt work would still have to be done with light lateen rigs and galleys. The Iberianís also had superiority in firearms, cannon, and ship designs. That advantage was smaller than it would have been without French help, Suleyman knew that however much it sometimes galled him, but they still held that advantage.

But the Portuguese had problems too. Their supply line was even longer and more tenuous than his. Their bases in the area were merely fortified trading posts, not colonies. They would be very vulnerable to an attack that was carried through with full vigor. Looking into the hungry eyes of Jafar, Suleyman saw that vigor. Jafar could attack.

And attack he did. The storming of Diu is justly famous, but the cost should be kept in mind. There is a tendency to glamorize war in the past, but it was just as bloody and soul destroying as any modern war. The site of men stricken with gangrene legs that they lost when a ten pound ball of iron sent splinters of woods careening into their flesh and bones is no less a sickening image than that of men blown apart by guided weapons. Yet still the image of those gallant ships of oak with their fluttering white sails, floating over a star filled nightís sky hold our attention. Perhaps inevitably time romanticizes events, but in order to get the proper perspective we should keep in mind those who died in horrible screaming agony so that strategic goals could be met.

That strategic goal _was_ met though, and perhaps _because_ he knew the cost Jafar considered it a glorious victory. It was his proudest achievement of the war, and one that he reaped full laurels from. As he reported, ďGreat was the joy of the Muslims at Diu when they saw us come; they hailed us as their deliverers, and said: ĎYou have come to Gujarat in troublous times, and God be prased for it. It is not within the memory of man that a ship from Rum has landed on these coasts. We fervently hoped that God in his mercy would soon send an Ottoman fleet to Diu, to save this land for the Ottoman Empire and to deliver us from the unbelievers.í"

After Diu was occupied the Portuguese were driven to their base in Southern Africa and Goa. They would be back, but at the time many in Portugal feared that they had been driven out of the east forever, that Goa might soon fall, and that quick reinforcement and consolidation of those two colonies was Portugalís only hope.

The Portuguese had been increasingly nervous about South Africa ever since the 1530ís when other powers began to show interest. That had set off the first big push to colonize and consolidate South Africa on a serious level, but the Ottoman drive south further increased South Africaís importance to the Portuguese, who responded by increasing the rate of colonization and defense. They had every intention of building South Africa up into a formidable base of operation that could be used to strike at the Ottomans with impunity.

The Portuguese also began to reinforce Goa. They further strengthened their alliance with local elites, tightened administration, and built up their army. This proved enough and the Portuguese still held Goa when peace was signed in 1560.[3] The Ottomans only made one attempt at taking Goa, and that was a rather badly executed affair that was turned back with ease. Even before it was executed, Jafar had a bad feeling about it. As he wrote, ďI looked over the 15 galleys which were needing a great deal of repair. As far as could be, they were put in order, calked and provided with guns, which, however, were not to be had in sufficient quantity either from the stores there or from Diu. A water-supply had also to be arranged for, and as it was before the time of the monsoon, I had plenty of leisure to visit the mosques of the area. One night I dreamed that I lost my sword, and as I remembered that a similar thing had happened to Sheik Muhieddin and had resulted in a defeat, I became greatly alarmed, and, just as I was about to pray to the Almighty for the victory of the Islamís arms, I awoke. I kept this dream a secret, but it troubled me for a long time, and when later the detachment of soldiers was sent to take Goa, and the undertaking resulted in our losing about a hundred men all through the fickleness of the Egyptian troops, I fully believed this to be the fulfilment of my dream. Alas! ĎWhat is decreed must come to pass, No matter, whether you are joyful or anxious.íĒ

The attack would be little remembered, if not for the timing of it. For the repulse happened right before lent, and afterwards the people of Goa celebrated their victory with a tremendous party.

This would became world famous as the _Shigmo_ (or as it is called everywhere but India _Carnaval_). From then on, every year in February/March just before the Lent period of fasting, the streets of Goa came alive in spectacle. Various village groups dressed in their most colorful clothes, marched in a festive way with multi-colored cloths, torans, flags and column-like red spotted "Dwajas", beat drums and blew flutes at the village temples, and danced in the temple court yards singing various folk songs to the beat of the drums. On the 5th day of this party came _Rang Panchami_, the real day of rejoicing when people throw 'Gulal' (colored powder) at each other as a sign of full-hearted greeting. These celebrations proved popular and soon spread to South Africa, where they mixed with native traditions to give us the celebration that is so famous in the world today.

But that was for the future. For now, for Jafar, the path south was opened up and he and the Ottomans took advantage of it. Pushing south along the Contra Coast they managed to get African chiefs to pay tribute and swear loyalty as far south as Zanzibar. [4]

[1] The Ottomans in Corsica? Sounds too far fetched? It happened in OTL.

[2] These are the first Ottoman blue water vessels. I think that a generation and half of French help, plus the necessities of war, and then Jafar pushing for them after his experience in France, is enough to get some built in the east.

[3] Little knowing that soon they would be facing an opponent they hadnít expected, the Inquisition. It became active in Goa in 1560 in OTL.

[4] In OTL the Ottomans DID get as far south as Zanzibar, but a generation later than what happens in this TL. Here, the French naval technology is really beginning to influence events. In OTL, the Portuguese managed a counter-offensive that allowed the Indian Ocean to become primarily a European controlled body of water. Here, that counter-offensive, while still possible, is less likely to be completely successful.

{A better pun would be appreciated if you can think of one.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 14: How Jafar to Zanzibar?

Jafar relished his role as the bringer of civilization to the heathen barbarians, and no where did he shine as much as on Zanzibar. Zanzibarís former Muslim Sultan had been overthrown by the Portuguese two generationís ago, but Christianity had not planted deep roots on the island. When Jafar reestablished the supremacy of the True Faith, he found a great deal of allies ready to work with him. The Augustinian convent, the previous Portuguese rulers of the island, had fled South [1] and left behind a decent enough administrative structure that allowed Jafar to quickly reshape the island to his needs.

This little island, only 570 square miles, was (for Africa) relatively healthy and well cultivated. For the first time Jafar saw inter-tropical flora, plantations of clove trees and coconut trees, and the strange natives. They were of Bantu decent, like the tribes of the adjoining portions of the mainland, and spoke Swahili, a language kindred to the idioms of Equatorial Africa. Getting past the language barrier was extremely difficult for Jafar and his crew, but the point that they wanted tribute and allegiance was not exactly a very complex one, so it got across.

Jafar took home a rich collection of ivory, copal, skins, grain, and slaves. These were all of great value to the Ottomans especially the latter, who after sale in the public markets, were dispersed all over the Muslim territories bordering on the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar quickly became the Empireís base of operation in the region and there formed caravans that penetrated into the distant interior, as far as the Great Lakes, and even beyond, selling the produce of Europe and Asia, cottons, glass, steel, and copper wire, pickaxes, hatchets, knives, salt, powder, and guns.

Here and there little colonies were established on the coast or in the interior, centers of the True faith, which carried the gospel by every means; commerce, slavery, war, intrigue, unions, and alliances. In that way, little by little, vast regions of Eastern Africa were falling under the influence of the Sultan. [2]

Jafar ruled the island, and the Ottoman Empireís relations with itís African tribute kingdoms, for the next few years. It was thought that he had learned enough of war and now needed some experience in governance. He enjoyed his job; he was making a difference here. The heathenness of the Franks had been one thing, but in Africa there were large numbers of infidels who were not even people of the book, and had heard little of the word of the prophet. But now his ships had brought the truth to them, and undoubtedly they would soon convert and so much greater would be his glory. He also began to understand the complex nature of diplomacy, and he saw how first hand how his dealings with one tribe effected his dealings with another. In some ways, it was as if he were running a minuture empire.

Including the minor diplomatic measures to deal with. One day, while talking to a gathering, Jafar was asked which of all the cities he had visited pleased him the most. He replied with the following stanza:

"Far from home no one longs for Paradise.

For in his eyes his native town is superior even to Istanbul."

"Thou hast spoken well," said the Zanzibarian.

The direct wealth gained from Africa was never that great, but at least he had made a real expansion of the empire, and best of all it was turning a profit. The Ottoman grip on the spice trade of India was beginning to be consolidated, and when combined with the tribute from the small kingdom this was more than enough to justify the costs.

Jafar saw a glorious future ahead for the Ottoman Empire in this area. And he had helped bring it about. Jafar now knew at last that he had proved himself worthy of the trust placed in him by his father, and that at the very least he had a chance at the throne, and with it a chance at avoiding being strangled to death.

[1] This exodus includes a number of priests who set up shop in southern Africa. Combined with an earlier and deaper Christian presence in South Africa, this is likely to result in a Southern Africa that becomes Christian faster than in OTL.

[2] East Africa is experiencing increased trade over OTL, from a combination of both the increased Portuguese presence and the increased Ottoman presence. These two combined will result in a pretty different East African history than OTL.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 15: Still Hungary?

During the war, Turkish Hungary proved to be a sore point for the Empire. The new star shaped fortress at Szeged (central Hungary) had not yet been completed when the war started. This ended up being a deadly mistake and could have cost the Ottomanís dearly. The Hungarian army reached Szeged and put up a fearsome siege. It was largely thanks to logistical problems on the Hungarianís part that the Ottomans managed to hold it during that first dangerous year. [1]

All through that winter construction was finished at a feverish pace, and the fortress was finally completed before the beginning of the second yearís campaign. This time though, the Ottomanís took the lead and invaded first. But their attack also went painfully slow. Heavy rains washed out roads and bridges on the way, and army seemed to sink into the mud.

No borders would change in Hungary for the second year. Or the third. Or the forth. Or the fifth. Or the sixth. Or the Seventh. The two forces were simply too evenly matched. Neither could make sufficient headway against each other. For the most part, Suleyman allowed his enemies to beat their head against his defenses, but family politics became a factor as well.

Jehangir, one of the Sultanís favored sons and the most war loving of the bunch, was military commander of Hungary. He flourished in this role, but he could not stand to be on the defensive. He constantly begged and pleaded with Suleyman to allow him to take his forces deep into the enemyís territory so as to advance the cresant flag instead of merely holding it in place.

Twice Suleyman agreed to this, and gave Jehangir troops that were badly needed on other fronts. Both times Jehangirís invasion ended in failure. After the second time, the Sultan swore that he would never allow another invasion of Hungary. The border would forever stay where it was.

It was in this state of mind that Joanna began furthering her influence over the aging Sultan. There is no concrete proof, but it has longed been assumed that it was her that convinced Suleyman that Jehangir was plotting treason. By all historical research this was a false charge. There _is_ some evidence that Jehangir was planning another invasion of Northern Hungary, hoping that if he was successful the Sultan would over look his disobedience, but Suleyman took that slim shred of evidence and (probably thanks to Joanna) ordered him arrested for treason.

Word reached Jehangir of the Sultanís decision before his guards could. Jehangir reacted with pure panic. He knew he risked death if he was not chosen as the successor, but to be charged with treason was intolerable for him. He had fought hard for the Empire, and for his own love of war, but this was no fitting end for one such as he. He would not accept it. If he had to go down, he would go down with his sword in hand, not strangled by a mute eunuch. [2]

He rounded up all the men loyal to him, and occupied the completed fortress of Szeged. This was one of the grandest fortressís the his father had ever built. And it would now face itís toughest battle against the man who had ordered it built.

In a fury Suleyman diverted his entire army (100,000 men) to deal with his rebel son. He personally oversaw this invasion, but he had to ride in a cart since he was too old to sit on a horse. This was a bitter pill for him, and made him realize just how little time he had left on this earth.

The resulting siege was an epic affair, lasting many months, but in the end the outcome could not be in doubt. Suleymanís force was one of the largest ever assembled in eastern Europe, and even the most ably built building can be breached with enough blood and cannon. When Jehangir had wasted away to nothing, and his men would have killed for the privilege of eating rats, the former heir to the throne of the most powerful Empire in Europe dressed in his finest robe, with a jeweled sword and a purse containing a hundred gold coins and some valuable jewels (so that the soldier who looted his body would think well of him), and led the last defenders in a suicide charge against the Ottomans, in which he and the overwhelming majority of this troops were killed. Those who did not die were sold into slavery, a fate they knew they faced and may explain why they fought so long and so hard. [3]

The division of Suleymanís forces proved a hard blow for the Empire. Hungary was better organized by this time, and in the last few years of the 10 Years war managed to take back most of the gains that Suleyman had made in the previous war. At the peace treaty Suleyman was left with the Southern third while the Holy Roman Empire ruled the Northern 2/3rds. The fortress at Szeged, which Suleyman had spent so much to build, and then spent so much more to destroy, was in Christian hands.

[1] The weakness of the Ottoman Empire in Hungary is really beginning to be shown here. They have suffered through TWO bad plagues while their enemies didnít. The demographics alone (fewer peasants mean fewer soldiers) means that this will have a large effect on the battlefield.

[2] In OTL, one of Suleymanís son did a similar thing, only not nearly as big. Jehangir is just in a better position (the best fort of the empire) and is more adept military commander. Having politics that result in your death if you lose ups the odds of people taking desperate measures like this.

[3] The soldier who found Jehangir, managed to pocket this money and used it to start up a nice coffee shop in Istanbul. A century later a famous French writer, who spent a lot of his time while in the Ottoman Empire in that coffee shop, used it as the setting of his most famous novel. From their the name will become a popular one for coffee shops all over the world. In the far distant future one can hardly move a block in the city without running into that clichť of urban life, an ďIshmaelísĒ coffee cafe.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman The Fierce Part 16: Piece Treaty

It would be a mistake to think of the 10 Years War in the same way that we think of a modern ďTotalĒ war, with the full resources of a nation mobilized. War was a brutal affair back then, but also regarded as more commonplace as well. Itís important to note how some of the fiction of the that decade (1550-1560) doesnít even mention the war, something that would be impossible to imagine in fiction that took place during a ďTotal WarĒ.

There were many different fields for the Ottomans in the Ten Years War, and they did not fight on them at all times. Sometimes a local truce could be enacted that could last for years, only for fighting to flare up when one side pushed too hard. In some cases, the powers desired an end to the war but the diplomatic trouble of obtaining a peace caused it to be prolonged.

Although not part of the proper Alliance structure of the 10 Yearís War there was an event during it that caused the Sultan great distress. For all of his rule the Black Sea had been an Ottoman lake, but right before the start of the war, a strong Tsar had finally unified his rule over the unruly northerners known by name as Muscovites or the Russ. By the last few years of the war, Cossacks were raiding the Crimean coast for the first time. Their raids were devastating to the area, but Suleyman simply did not have the time or the resources to respond fully. The Russian raids increased in ferocity, and the Ottomans in the area experienced a population decline so serious that Russian settlers began replacing them in the more northern areas. [1] Suleyman often meant to take action against the Russ, but the region was on the outskirts of the empire and he seemed to never have got around to it. [2]

Just as they did not go into Total War mode, so they also were willing to accept a lot more damage to their people without responding as well.

Suleymanís final major campaign of the war was the famous siege of Malta. Malta was the headquarters of the Spanish corsairs who had been making themselves particularly troublesome to Ottoman trade before and during the war. Spainís main base in Tunisia was judged as being too hard to take (an early attempt in the war had ended badly), so Suleyman hoped to strike at a more vulnerable spot.

Suleyman should have known that Malta would not be an easy rock to break, for at the beginning of his reign he had fought the Knights of St. John, and after defeating them let them resettle on the island of Malta. Spain allowed them to use their major base at Tunisia,[3] and from both ports they harassed Ottoman shipping.

When the Ottomanís invaded the island during the last year of the war, a very nasty "clash of civilizations" began. Wells were poisoned while the intense summer sun felled knights in heavy armor from heatstroke. Wounded defenders propped themselves up in chairs so they could strike one more blow before they were cut down. Men fought like moles in mines, while swimmers with knives performed a deadly underwater ballet over sharpened stakes in a scene that could have come from any action movie. [4]

The Ottomanís appeared to be on the verge of victory when 10,000 Spaniards arrived as reinforces. In terms of pure numbers that wasnít a lot compared to the 100,000 strong armies that battled in Hungary, but on Malta it was enough. The Ottomanís had no choice but to abandon the siege before winter arrived. As in Hungary, Persia, and India, the Ottoman military machine had reached its limits.

The Peace of Amasya was a recognization of these limits. Suleyman did obtain some new pieces for his empire, but on the whole it was a very expensive affair. He gained land at the Persians expense, but had his domains in Hungary reduced from 1/2 to 1/3 of that land. He kept Algeria, but did not gain any significant land against the Spaniards in the Mediterranean. The battles there had been long and bloody, but at least he knew his ships could take anything the Spanish had to give.

His biggest gains had oddly been in a new field for him, the naval war in the east. But even there the peace treaty did not give him a complete victory. The Portuguese had held their own after the loss of Diu (India) and Zanzibar (Africa), and for now it seemed beyond the Empireís ability to completely expel them from the east. They held Mozambique and Goa, while the Ottomans held that which was in-between. The Indian ocean wouldnít be the sole province for the Dar-al-Islam, but would instead have to be grudgingly shared with the Portuguese. The Spice trade, that valuable commodity, wouldnít be a monopoly either, but at least now the Ottomans had a share of it. It wasnít the complete victory he had hopped for, but it was something. [5]

[1] The Ottoman Empire has not put _nearly_ as many people into the Crimean as OTL. It has been spending itís time, money, and energy, on other things and has just not had as much left over for other parts. Also, the plague has major demographic effects. People move a lot less to new parts of the empire, because there is a labor shortage throughout ALL of the empire, thanks to the two plagues that didnít happen in OTL. All told, when you combined deaths, crippled, additional wars, and lost births because of the previous events, this Ottoman Empire has millions less than OTL. This has a big effect, not least of which is a higher standard of living for the average Ottoman. Thatís a common occurrence when a plague kills a significant percentage of people in a subsistence economy. It sucks for the dead, but for the living there is now more stuff left over. This oddly one of the reasons why Suleymanís reign is remembered so fondly in this TL, even by the peasants.

[2] This was true of OTL, and would be even more true here where the Crimean is even of less importance. Suleyman never did get around to dealing with the Russ in the Crimean but his successor did. Here, if that ever happens (it might not), itís going to be a lot tougher. The Crimean very well could go Russian two centuries earlier in this TL. Big changes there.

[3] In OTL the Spanish gave the Knights this base, but here Tunisia has greater strategic importance and it has been built up into a very important base in the region.

[4] All OTL. The Ottomans tried to take Malta four years later here, but the pressure of the Ten Years War and the increased activity in the Mediterranean easily makes it probable that theyíd try it earlier.

[5] In OTL the Portugese and the Dutch manged to completely dominate these waters in a generation or two, and they remained under European control for hundreds of years after that. Here, thatís not so. And this is a big change.

Brave New Old World: Suleyman the Fierce Part 17 (The Last): An Epic Log

After the war, everyone at the Sultanís Palaces commented that Suleyman began fading quickly once the peace had been signed. He had worked so hard to make the Empire victorious, and by and large he had. But it had cost the Empire and himself a great deal. It was obvious that he was an old man, and nothing could stop the approach of death. All reports we have indicate that his mood was growing darker every day. Joys that used to engaged him were banished as he insisted on a Spartan lifestyle. Palace musical instruments were smashed. His tableís now used earthenware instead of silver. Joke tellers and artists were banished from court life.

While joy may have left his heart, his empire never left his mind. It was at this time that he began to put rouge on his face to fool foreigners into thinking him in good health. Suleyman would not let anyone report that the Empire was not strong at itís core.

Even in his declining health he could still commission great works. In addition to the building of beautiful new architectures, Suleyman began work on the greatest project of his career; this at a time when he knew he could not possibly live to see it completed.

His experienceís in the 10 years war had taught him a vital lesson, that the Empireís navy had to be capable of operating in both the east and the west. If there was some way of quickly switching ships from the Mediterranean to the Eastern Oceans, the Empire could have driven the Portuguese out with ease, and the Spanish would have faced an invincible armada. Suleyman had always been a builder, and it wasnít as if the idea was new. He had heard it had been built in the days of ignorance, and surely if those pagans had been able to build it, so could he. Thus it was that 1 year after the end of the war, work on the Suez Canal began.

The years passed and as 1564 came Suleyman found himself slipping away. It was difficult to do even simple things now, and he got tired so very easily. He knew that his time was coming. He had been putting off this day for too long.

There were only two real choices. Selim, or Jafar? Baize was a drunken lush and was not even on the Sultanís mind as he began thinking about his choice. Could he do it? Could he kill his children? Could he do . . . what his father had done?

He had seen so much death. He had inflicted so much. Even in the first days of his reign that wretched virus had turned men into mockeries of flesh. That sort of things weighs on a man. Yes. He could do it. It was his duty. The Empire needed one, and only one ruler. He could not allow disunity after his death. [1]

All his heirs were summoned. Joanna, still able to make him happy despite his declining health, was still there to influence him. She pushed, and pushed and in the end Suleyman listened to here words well.

All of his heirs were strangled. Save one. [2]

After he made that decision some last part in him seemed to die. He had never been as grim as his father, and killing his sons was not an easy thing for him to do. After he had done it, he seemed to just give up on life.

His last words to this world came not orally as is normally the case, but through the poetry he loved writing so much. As he lay in bed, he commanded for a quill and ink to be brought to him, so that he could write down his thoughts one last time.


From Istanbulís throne a mighty host to Iran guided I;

Sunken deep in water I made Christendomís Ships to lie.

By my resolution, lord of Egypt slain, and my direct realm became:

Thus I raised my royal banner over great cities.

From the kingdom fair of Iraq to Belgrade these tidings sped,

When I played the harp of Heavenly Aid at feast of victory.

Through my saber ships drowned was in a sea of blood;

My ships made me King of India by my Queenly troops,

When I played the Chess of empire on the Board of sovereignty.

But Emptied I of pity over my own heirs.

Strangled on my own command for the good.

Rolled the sweat of terror's fever---when I happed to espy that memory.

O Empire, in thy name was struck the coinage of the world,

When in crucible of doubt, like gold, that melted I.

Did I do right?

I leave to find the answer.


Soon after writing those words Suleyman died.

The Sultan was dead.


[1] The end of infanticide really came about because of the particulars of Sultanaís (Rose of Springís) political and relationship maneuvering with the Sultan. Here, Joanna is adept at manipulating the Sultan but not as well as Sultana of OTL. As a result, Suleyman decides to kill all his heirs save one. But the mere fact that he allowed himself to be convinced to not do it in OTL, seems to imply that he would have at least had doubts about it in an ATL. His waiting until the last minute is a reflection of this. Also, in OTL after the end of infanticide the Ottomans began to imprison the heirs to the throne. The Sultanate then often fell to individuals who had been imprisoned for decades and, well, there was often no cream filling in those Twinkies. Not so here. Here the Ottomans continue the practice of killing all rivals to the throne for a while to come. This changes the very nature of the leadership of the Ottoman Empire.

[2] For those who think this succession is too implausible, the OTL version is just as bad. Sultana, Rose of Spring, convinced Suleyman to marry her, a slave, thus breaking hundreds of years of tradition. She then convinced Suleyman that Mustafa was planning treason and he was executed. Then Sultanaís sons fought it out to decide who would become Sultan, and one of them staged a revolt, lost, and fled to Persia. The Shah, faced with war if he didnít comply with the Sultanís demands, gave the rebel son back to the Ottomans. A bowstring was put around his neck and he was strangled by mute eunuch slaves. His children, including his three year old son were also killed. Sultana, then convinced Suleyman that not _all_ of her children needed to be killed, thus ending another century old practice. When the Sultan died, his advisors faked that he was alive until Selim, a drunken fool, claimed the throne in Istanbul. Compared to this, I donít think this succession order is that far fetched.


The End

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